Non-electric vehicles could be banned from Moor Lane next year under plans to trial the first Ultra-Low Emission Street in the Square Mile.
The Corporation’s port health and environmental services committee met earlier this week to rubberstamp the trial, which brings in restrictions on all but ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) using the service road by April 2019.
It follows similar plans from Hackney and Islington councils to ban petrol, diesel and older hybrid vehicles from two pockets on the City fringe in Shoreditch and Bunhill during the morning and evening peak from July.
The scheme is being touted as the City’s compromise for failing to deliver similar traffic restrictions promised for pollution-choked Beech Street with funding from the Greater London Authority’s Low Emissions Neighbourhood (LEN) scheme.
Officers told the committee that rolling out a ULEV-only scheme in Beech Street could take up to two years, well beyond the LEN’s April cut-off, leaving the Corporation open to losing the £365,000 allocated for the scheme.
Instead it has proposed using Moor Lane as a pilot, which, if successful, could be integrated into large-scale works to cut pollution in Beech Street by closing the tunnel to eastbound traffic.
The Corporation’s LEN project manager Ben Kennedy said Moor Lane was chosen because of the relatively high number of black cabs currently using the road, and would serve as an incentive for more taxi drivers to switch to electric vehicles.
A spokesperson for TfL said that as of last week there were 146 electric taxis licensed to operate in the Capital – six months after London introduced new laws banning any new non-electric vehicles from joining its fleet of 21,000 diesel cabs.
The spokesperson said TfL expects the number of licensed zero-emission cabs [ZEC] to “increase significantly” in the next few months.
“We recently successfully lobbied government to remove VED charges for green taxis, the charging network will continue to expand and we are expecting further competition in the ZEC taxi vehicle market this year.”
A Corporation spokesperson said: “We’re pleased that plans for the Square Mile’s first ULEV street are progressing.
“Following approval from the port health and environmental services committee, the next stage is for the proposals to be signed off at the next projects sub (policy and resources) committee in May.”