The new engines are “Euro 6″ compliant – the standard at which all vehicles within the scope of the city’s Government-mandated Clean Air Zone will be exempt from any charges. Anne Shaw, Assistant Director – Transportation and Connectivity at Birmingham City Council, said: “We have to introduce a Clean Air Zone as part of the Government’s strategy to bring the country into line with the law.
“The fact our city has an ageing fleet of cabs means we need to look at how we can work with drivers to re-profile the vehicles serving customers in the city as their impact on air quality is significant. “Through the funding the council has successfully unlocked from the Government, we’ve been able to play a part in forming links with technology providers and engineers to come up with part of the solution to one of the city’s major public health issues.
“This is one of a package of measures and investment that will encourage people to use other fuels and forms of transport in the city. We’ll continue looking at ways in which to develop partnerships and encourage innovation to achieve this.”
Linda Gomersall, General Manager at Autogas Ltd, who have provided LPG technology support for the project, added: “Autogas Ltd is delighted to be working alongside Birmingham City Council as part of their Birmingham NOx Reduction Champions project in retrofitting their taxi fleet to run on LPG.
“With an increase in levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide that are harmful to human health, it remains imperative that these air quality issues are addressed in Birmingham and across the UK.
“As such, Birmingham City Council should be commended for adopting measures such as retrofitting their taxi fleet to run on cleaner LPG fuel, demonstrating that both locally and nationally, they are already at the forefront of tackling air pollution from the most polluting vehicles and meeting the demands set out as part of the Government’s Clean Air Zones programme, well ahead of the deadline in 2020.”
Steve Law of Harborne Garage said: “This is a moment in time that could change the iconic black cab that we know and love forever.
“This project will go a long way to help clean up the air that we, our children and our grandchildren breathe in Birmingham and we are very proud to be within a team of technical experts who created the solution.”
Johan van Grootel, technical engineer at KMS, said: “We and our partner Vogels Autogas in association with Autogas Ltd are pleased to contribute to improving air quality for the people of Birmingham.
“We have accomplished the technical challenge in converting the old diesel powered black cab to a modern emission friendly vehicle running on LPG. In comparison to the diesel engine, we achieved an improvement of 99.9 per cent on particles and 99 per cent on NO2 emissions.”