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Pollution claims unfair – taxi boss

The Retail Motor Industry Federation has sparked a row with taxi operators and manufacturers after blaming black cabs for pollution.

It follows the announcement of a public consultation about London’s congestion charging. RMIF non-executive chairman Alex Murray questioned the proposed changes to congestion charging, which include penalising drivers of high emission cars by £25 per day, when taxis and buses are exempt.

“Many of London’s 22,000-strong black cab fleet is old, and these emit far more harmful particulates than a comparable saloon car,” said Murray. “There are also 44,000 minicabs, and 8,000 buses, most running on diesel, producing 200,000 tonnes of carbon per year. Will measures be taken to deal with the harmful environmental emissions produced by these vehicles?”

LTI Vehicles, maker of the London black cab for 60 years, has hit back at the RMIF for being ignorant of the emissions programme already underway for taxis.

This will bring a 37% drop in the fleet’s emissions by July 2008 through vehicle replacement, aftermarket technology or conversion to LPG. All taxis must be Euro3 compliant from that date. Managing director Peter Shillock added: “LTI has cut emissions from taxis by 55% since 1994 and current emissions are 50% lower than legal requirements. We have strong sales in London so the fleet is being renewed with the most environmentally efficient model.”

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