TAXI drivers in Keighley and other parts of the Bradford district are being supported to switch to fully-electric vehicles.

Bradford Council is offering grants of several thousand pounds to people in the licensed taxi trade to help with running costs of electric hackney carriage or private hire vehicles.

The funding is part of a £4.1 million Clean Air Zone pot that has been made available.

To be eligible for a grant, applicants may buy or take out a long-term lease on a vehicle.

A council spokesperson says: "There are currently 200,000 electric vehicle movements per month in the Bradford district, and these grants will support the taxi trade to also make the change to fully-electric vehicles.

"The district's taxi trade has been extremely proactive in upgrading vehicles to Clean Air Zone standards. Thanks to grants already issued it is the cleanest fleet in the country, with 99 per cent of the 4,800-strong licensed taxi and private hire trade meeting the Bradford Clean Air Zone standard.

"We know that there is an appetite for fully-electric taxi vehicles in Bradford district and we want to support this. A recent trade survey in the area showed that more than two thirds – 67.6 per cent – of respondents are thinking about driving a fully-electric hackney carriage or private hire vehicle.

"Owners of electric vehicles can see savings in fuel costs as well as lower servicing and maintenance charges. These are on top of the driver health benefits of in-vehicle pollution reduction, respiratory health improvements and a reduction in noise.

"The application process is now live for Bradford-district licensed vehicle proprietors.

"Proprietors who have already upgraded to other compliant vehicle types, such as petrol/electric hybrid, can apply for a top-up grant if they choose to go fully electric. The grant funding will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis."

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s executive member for healthy people and places, says: "We recognise that there is a desire from the taxi trade to switch to fully-electric vehicles. We want to further support the trade by offering up to £10,000 per vehicle in grant funding to assist proprietors with the running costs of a fully-electric hackney carriage or private hire vehicle. This is the highest grant of its type in the UK."

Anyone wishing to check if they are eligible for grant aid can contact the council's Clean Air Zone team on 01274 435533.