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Taxi drivers to get clean air cash for new cars.

The Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Bradford has raised over £4 million, earmarked to aid local taxi drivers in transitioning to electric vehicles. 

Bradford Council announced that licensed operators are eligible to apply for grants up to £10,000 to either purchase or lease fully electric cabs. Commencing in September 2022, the CAZ amassed nearly £4.5 million in charges and fines within its initial six months of operation. 

The council emphasised that grant allocation would follow a first-come, first-served basis.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, stated, “We acknowledge the taxi trade’s inclination towards adopting fully electric vehicles. This grant stands as the most significant of its kind in the UK.”

According to the council, a recent survey within the Bradford district’s taxi trade revealed that more than two-thirds (67.6%) of respondents contemplated utilising fully electric Hackney Carriages or private hire vehicles.

Despite this, one group representing taxi drivers in Bradford expressed skepticism. Mohammed Fiaz Suleman, chair of Bradford Hackney Carriage Taxi Trade Association, voiced concerns, stating, “The absence of charging points on the ranks will impede this initiative.” Mr Suleman declared his decision not to apply for the grant.

The clean air charge primarily affects taxis, lorries, and vans that fail to meet emission standards. However, private car and motorbike drivers are exempt from these charges. Commercial vehicles entering the area face daily fees ranging from £7 to £50, with defaulters subject to a £120 fine plus the initial fee. 

Some business proprietors highlighted customer confusion and increased pricing as the resultant impacts of the CAZ implementation.

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