Thursday 3rd November 2016
You may have seen recent media coverage about the LPG taxi project that’s underway in Birmingham. Thanks to funding from a number of parties – including Birmingham City Council – more than 50 black cabs are being converted to run on automotive LPG, aiming to improve the health of people living and working in the second city.
This is particularly pertinent after yesterday's high court ruling stating that the government's plan to tackle illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide was flawed, with the judge highlighting the Environment Secretary's ‘continuing failure to tackle the national air pollution crisis.
With a great deal of funding focused on electric and hybrid vehicles, it's refreshing to see a project that is showcasing automotive LPG as an immediate and cost-effective alternative to diesel, which can address the relentless issue of urban air quality right now.
LPG offers an immediate solution for cutting inner city air pollution and UKLPG members will be attending the Air Quality News Conference next week to highlight the value of LPG in cutting harmful emissions.
Figures released recently indicate that 60,000 early deaths in the UK each year are caused by air pollution, and black cabs - housed almost exclusively in city centres and heavily urbanised areas - are a significant contributor to the NOx levels.
A newly converted black cab running on LPG emits 80% less NOx emissions compared with a standard diesel powered version, whilst also reducing particulate matter, also known to be hazardous to health.
With each cab conversion costing £8,000 and taking just 2 ½ days to complete, taxi drivers can now refuel with LPG at up to half the price of diesel thus receiving a rapid return on investment, bringing both substantial financial advantages alongside the environmental benefits.
UKLPG has responded to yesterday's ruling with letters to DEFRA's Secretary of State and the Transport Secretary reinforcing the fact that automotive LPG is an effective and, most importantly, an immediate solution to the current dangerous levels of NOx in built-up areas. The need to tackle urban air pollution is critical and it is great to see this collaborative initiative to deliver a dedicated taxi LPG engine working so effectively in Birmingham. I hope this pioneering programme, coupled with the high court ruling, inspires other cities and local authorities to consider a taxi conversion project to improve air quality in their area.
By Rob Shuttleworth, Chief Executive, UKLPG
The trade association for the LPG and bioLPG industry in the UK