ELECTRIC taxis could be boosted by charging bars installed in the streets of Southend.

In a bid to stop toxic fumes clogging up children’s lungs Southend Council is finalising an air pollution strategy.

As well as more conventional means the council is hoping to harness all the available technology to help ensure a healthier population.

One of the measures is to prefer licences for more environmentally friendly taxis.

This could include setting up special low emission taxi ranks for hybrids or “alternatively fuelled vehicles”.

The council will also consider using wireless charging technology allowing taxis to top up during the day.

Among the technology suggested is charging bars in the street which can be activated while driving, something which in the past was only thought of in sci-fi films.

Council leader John Lamb said: “I am really for this I’m really pleased to see this.

“This impacts the health of everyone in the borough and we need to be in a place where we can improve our own air quality.

“We are busy, we have a lot of traffic and its not going to be solved overnight.”

Cliff Short, a Southend taxi driver for 30 years, said: “I don’t think it will become a reality yet.

“They are talking about it but not doing it.

“I know one or two drivers who have got the new Toyota Prius because we know the Government is trying to phase out diesel cars by a certain time.

“Technically it all sounds okay but like everything else it takes change.

“There are 26 electric taxis in London but they can’t charge in certain places.

“There is a lack of infrastructure to back up the plans.

“It needs more thought to make it work.”

In 2016, the council declared an air quality management area around the A127 Bell Junction where high levels of nitrogen dioxide were found.

The resulting “low emissions strategy” now being considered by councillors will see a number of other measures taken to reduce pollution, including making it easier to own an electric vehicle.

Other initiatives will include discouraging the use of diesel in commercial and council vehicles.

The strategy is still being finalised.