Taxi drivers

Glasgow taxi drivers with no retrofit option granted temporary low-emission zone exemption

Glasgow taxi operators who do not have access to funded retrofit solutions to meet Low Emission Zone (LEZ) requirements will be given more time to prepare, Glasgow City Council has confirmed.

It comes after the proposal was approved by the council’s city administration committee on Thursday.

The plan to grant a one-year “time-limited exemption” to operators in these circumstances would see the application of emission standards required by Glasgow’s LEZ postponed until June 1, 2024.

The temporary exemption reflects the fact that without the availability of retrofitting (an option largely funded by a grant from Transport Scotland), some taxi operators face additional costs to meet the emission standards required to operate in Glasgow beyond the LEZ application date of 1 June 2023.

Operators eligible for financial assistance must meet the LEZ emission standards at the time of general application, like all other vehicles operating in the area.

However, should there be any issues regarding the availability of grants and/or upgrading capacity, the council has previously guaranteed operators a short-term exemption as long as an application for funding has been made by October 31, 2022.

HeraldScotland: Glasgow taxi operators who do not have access to funded retrofit solutions to meet Low Emission Zone requirements will be given extra time to prepareGlasgow taxi operators who do not have access to funded retrofit solutions to meet Low Emission Zone requirements will be given extra time to prepare (Picture: NewsQuest)

Glasgow City Council said the assurance came in response to industry feedback and was bolstered by a recent £5m boost to the LEZ support fund following dialogue between the council and the Scottish government. Since then, the operators’ contribution to the cost of modernization has been considerably reduced.

Councilor Angus Millar, city organizer for transport and climate, said: “The Low Emissions Zone is a vital public health measure to combat long-standing illegal levels of air pollution in our city centre.

“Our approach to mitigating the impact of the LEZ on taxi operators aims to support the transition to LEZ compliance by encouraging all eligible operators to take up increased Scottish Government funding for vehicle upgrades .

“Meanwhile, granting a temporary exemption to taxi operators who cannot access a funded retrofit solution to allow more time to comply with emission standards is a balanced and practical way to support the sector before the general application of the Glasgow LEZ next year.

“This thoughtful approach balances our resolute determination to address pressing public health issues associated with air quality as quickly as possible, with our desire to mitigate the cost to operators of coming into compliance as much as possible.

“I also warmly welcome the additional funding that has been made available through the renovation element of the LEZ Support Fund, and would again encourage the rapid uptake of this enhanced financial support for renovations by all eligible operators.

“As we move towards the application of the LEZ, we will continue to support the taxi industry in achieving compliance, whether through the modernization funding available or by giving operators additional time to prepare. when they don’t have that option available to them.”