THE first fleet of low emission taxis are taking to the streets of York.

Streamline Taxis has become the first taxi service in the city to operate low emission vehicles with ten new hybrid taxis and one electric car, with support from City of York Council.

The company has also traded in a number of older diesel cabs which will improve air pollution in York.

Mark Wilson, of Streamline Taxis, said: “We recognise the need to take responsibility for the impact our business has on the environment and our aim is to replace all our company vehicles with either hybrid or electric technology to reduce our emissions and help improve the air quality in York. These vehicles are also much quieter than diesels so reduce noise pollution as well.

“We are grateful of the support from City of York Council and both Toyota and Nissan dealerships in helping us achieve our aims.”

It follows a scheme which the council launched in 2013 which offered taxi companies discounts off the purchase price of new and used low emission taxis.

York was the first city in the UK to offer taxi drivers funding towards the price of a low emission taxi to help to reduce air pollution through the Low Emission Taxi incentive, which offers up to £3,000 off the purchase price of a new or used hybrid or electric taxi up to five-years-old.

The scheme is funded by the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund or i-Travel York and has seen an investment of £67,000 used over the past two financial years.

Through this scheme, the council has been working with taxi drivers and associations over the past 18-months to promote the uptake of low emission taxis in York. It’s proved so popular there are now more than 30 hybrid taxis in York including Hackney and Private Hires with the first fully electric taxi also operated by Streamline Taxis.

To support the uptake of electric taxis there are also five rapid chargers in York including the Sports Village, Nunnery Lane car park, Monks Cross Park&Ride and Poppleton Bar Park&Ride that can charge an electric car in 20 minutes.

Cllr Dave Merrett, cabinet member for environmental services, said: "The scheme aims to improve air quality through building confidence in the taxi trade about the reliability, low running costs and customer benefits of hybrid and electric vehicles. This is proving to be popular with taxi companies and there are now 34 hybrid or electric taxis in York.”

Streamline’s new low emission vehicles will also help transport more than 400 children and adults to special and mainstream schools, colleges and respite care adult day care services every week.