London mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) have launched a £42m fund to encourage taxi owners to retire the oldest and most polluting diesel black cabs.
Owners of black cabs between 10 and 15 years old could be eligible for TfL's 'delicensing' scheme, with a grant of up to £5,000 in exchange for retiring their taxi.
Taxis between 14 and 15 years will qualify for £1,200
TfL said the owner of a 10-year-old taxi would receive the highest amount of £5,000, with £1,200 paid to delicense a vehicle aged between 14 and 15 years old.
Mr Khan, said: 'London's filthy air is a health crisis that needs urgent action. The plans announced by the Government this week go nowhere near the action needed.
'I hope this fund helps deliver a new generation of zero-emission taxis on our roads and paves the way for the Government to offer a diesel scrappage scheme so all London motorists can ditch their dirty diesels.'
TfL said taxis are a significant contributor to London's ‘toxic air quality’, and responsible for 16% of Nitrous Oxide (NOx) and 26% of Particulate Matter (PM) road transport emissions in central London.
It said a greener fleet could reduce harmful NOx emissions from taxis by 45% in central London by 2020.
No more new diesel taxis will be licensed in London from 1 January 2018. TfL said a number of manufacturers are now prioritising Zero Emission Capable (ZEC) taxis.
The Government's Plug-in Taxi Grant, part-funded by the Mayor, will also give cabbies purchasing new ZEC taxis up to £7,500 towards the purchase of a new vehicle. Combined with a delicensing payment, drivers could win up to £12,500 towards the purchase of a brand new ZEC taxi.