Taxi for DfT!

Green taxis over cycle ways? MANHATTAN RESEARCH INC (CC)

Taxi for DfT!

As summer begins in Westminster, the Department for Transport announces its support for greener transport options and low emission vehicles just weeks after the Chancellor raised the levy on their use.

Eight cities today (23 July 2015) received a huge boost from the Department for Transport (DfT) in their bid to win part of a £20 million fund to increase the number of plug-in taxis. This scheme has been labelled by the DfT as a means to “greener transport options”.

The shortlist of 8 potential winning schemes will each receive a government-backed study into providing more environmentally-friendly travel opportunities in their area:

  • Birmingham City Council
  • Cambridge City Council
  • Coventry City Council
  • Dundee City Council
  • Nottingham City Council
  • Oxford City Council
  • Sheffield City Council
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority

The studies will gather vital information into how local authorities could use the money to reduce the up front cost of purpose-built taxis and install charging infrastructure for taxi and private hire use, with the winning schemes announced in April 2016.

The Government is keen to stress its belief in addressing the issue of climate change through technology solutions, with Transport Minister Andrew Jones saying “Government is investing £500 million in low emission vehicles over the next 5 years to make them an accessible and affordable choice for all.”

This latest announcement however shows a discrepancy in current government policy following the Chancellor’s Summer Budget statement on 08 July. The Chancellor announced a reform of vehicle excise duty for 2017, which will remove the existing sliding scale tax for new cars.

Government reliance upon hi-tech solutions which will kick in years down the line is not enough. More needs to be done to encourage active travel, such as cycling, as this can deliver the environmental and health solutions the UK needs now.”

Sam Jones
CTC Campaigner

This scale currently provides an incentive to buy lower-carbon vehicles and newer cars. Under the reform there will be a zero-rate tax for zero-emissions cars and a flat rate for all other cars, including hybrids. The Carbon Brief say this will mean a low energy car such as the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid could see a "road tax" increase from £10 in the first year to £140, while a Land Rover Freelander would see its first year rate fall from £800 to £140, which CTC thinks is at odds with the Minister’s statement.

CTC welcomes the Government’s hesitant steps towards more sustainable transport policy but argues it should not only be consistent but also place a greater focus on active travel solutions which will also bring benefit in other areas such as health.

Thanks to over 5,000 CTC supporters, the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy was included in the Infrastructure Act in January, and is currently going through the process of becoming law. CTC will continue its campaign to ensure that adequate funding of at least £10 per head will be included and national design standards for cycling provision are devised and adopted.

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The figures for that have been quoted for the Discovery are incorrect.