Mayor admits black cabs need to clean up their act – but won’t reinstate six-monthly checks

In response to questions from Labour’s environment spokesperson on the London Assembly, Murad Qureshi, the Mayor admitted this week that emissions of small particulates – especially problematic for Londoners suffering from respiratory illnesses – needed to be "addressed". But the Mayor denied the need to reinstate the twice-yearly inspections of black cabs which he has abolished – and which nearly 40% of cabs were failing, with excess emissions a major factor.

Speaking after the Assembly Plenary meeting at City Hall on Wednesday, which discussed the Mayor’s strategies, Murad said:

"The Mayor cannot deny the fact that the 21,000 black cab vehicles in London cause the same amount of pollution as the city’s 46,000 private hire vehicles. These kinds of particulates are especially harmful, particularly if you have asthma or other respiratory problems, and they need to be reduced.

"An easy way for eco-conscious Londoners to be greener if they need to use a taxi service is therefore to use a private hire minicab instead."

Murad also made the point that the main cause of emissions from black cabs is from brake and tyre wear rather than engines and added:

"The Mayor used the word ‘trivial’ to describe these emissions, but it is not ‘trivial’ if you are the parent of an asthmatic child suffering from London’s poor air quality. The Mayor needs to take a lead on this crucial issue and do everything he can to reduce emissions – rather than pander to drivers’ convenience.

"These vehicles should be regularly monitored, and the decision to abolish twice-yearly checks was irresponsible. Along with the suspension of Phase 3 of the Low Emission Zone, this clearly shows that Boris’s commitment to our environment is lacklustre at best."

Notes

  • Murad Qureshi AM is the Labour Group environment spokesperson on the London Assembly and Chair of the Assembly Environment Committee.
  • The London Assembly Plenary session to discuss Mayoral Strategies took place on Wednesday 22nd July 2009 at 11am at City Hall.