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Environmental Consideration for Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Policy

Meeting: 27/06/2022 - Licensing Committee (Item 19)

19 Environmental Consideration for Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Policy pdf icon PDF 371 KB

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The Committee received a report from the Environmental Health Manager. She clarified point 1.10 should read “emissions of less than 70 120g/km of CO2”.


The purpose of the Officer’s report was to consider the relaxation of Ultra-Low and Zero Emission vehicles policy within the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicle fleet.


There was a need to reduce polluting emissions to improve poor air quality in City Locations dominated by emissions from buses, taxis and service vehicles. This must be achieved whilst maintaining sufficient levels of access and capacity for travel in the City, for the vehicles using those areas.


This could only be achieved by intervening to ensure uptake of Ultra-low and Zero emission technologies within those vehicle fleets.


The UK government had a long term vision for all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2040 and for nearly every car and van to be zero emission by 2050. These recommendations fit with national policy.


Financial support for rapid charging infrastructure for taxis was committed by the City Council at Full Council in February 2016.


In October 2016 Members amended the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy to include a commitment to implement changes to increase the uptake of Ultra-Low and Zero emission vehicles, such as hybrid and electric.


Due to Brexit, the pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine, the availability of such vehicles were becoming more difficult to obtain, and there was also a waiting period of up to a year to purchase these types of vehicles. So there was a need to build in flexibility into the policy to allow standard hybrids with emissions of less that 120g/km of CO2.


In response to Members’ questions the Environmental Quality & Growth Manager said the following:

      i.          OLEV emissions were circa 120g/km of CO2, whereas ‘standard’ vehicles were at least 300g/km but could be more.

     ii.          Standard hybrid vehicles mainly used combustion engines whereas plug-in hybrids could be driven longer on battery power so had lower emissions.


In response to Members’ questions the Environmental Health Manager said the following:

      i.          Currently, the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy (as agreed at Licensing Committee in October 2016) sets out: By December 2028, subject to review in 2026, all Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles to be Ultra-Low or Zero Emission as and when the market allows. This would be reviewed as officers were aware there was a low number of accessible vehicles being manufactured.

     ii.          The Demand Survey showed there was unmet demand for taxis, not just wheelchair accessible ones. All Hackney Carriages could be accessible, but the Demand Survey suggested only 50% of taxis needed to be accessible.


The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

      i.          Air pollution was caused by various sources, not just taxis.

     ii.          Queried how to petition Central Government to pressure manufacturers to produce more low emission accessible vehicles.


The Chair undertook to liaise with officers on options and report back to the Committee. For example contacting Daniel Zeichner MP.


   iii.          There was no such thing as a standard wheelchair accessible vehicle. Powered wheelchairs were getting bigger and heavier, but not all vehicles could take them which impacted on users.


Councillor McPherson proposed an amendment to the Officer’s recommendation that  licenced vehicles that turn 9 years old and are due for a renewal between July 2022 and 18th July 2023 may have a renewal extension for 1 year only.


This amendment was carried unanimously.


The Committee:


Resolved (unanimously):

      i.          To approve the inclusion of standard hybrids within the policy with emissions of less than 120g/km of CO2 with a review of this in June 2024. (See Appendix 1 of the Officer’s report.)

     ii.          A new standard hybrid vehicle licence would not be granted in respect of a vehicle unless it is less than 4 years old. A vehicle licence for standard hybrid vehicles will not be renewed unless the vehicle is less than 9 years old.