Taxi drivers

Glasgow taxi drivers without refurbishment will have an extra year to prepare for the arrival of the LEZ

Glasgow taxi operators who do not have access to funded retrofit solutions to meet Low Emission Zone requirements will be given more time to prepare, after the proposal has been approved by the Board of Directors city ​​today.

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.

This 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 in the beyond the effective date of the LEZ 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.

This assurance, which responds to industry feedback, has been bolstered by a recent £5m increase 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, the city’s transport and climate manager, 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 In the meantime, granting a temporary exemption to taxi operators who cannot access a funded retrofit solution to give themselves more time to comply with emission standards is a balanced and practical way to support the sector ahead of the general application of Glasgow’s LEZ next year.” This thoughtful approach balances our resolute determination to tackle the pressing public health issues associated with air quality as quickly as possible, with our desire to mitigate as much as possible the cost for operators to comply. “I also welcome the additional funding that has been made available through the modernization element of the LEZ Support Fund, and would again encourage the rapid uptake of this enhanced financial support for renovations by all operators. As we move towards the application of the LEZ, we will continue to help the taxi industry to comply, whether through the modernization funding available or by giving operators additional time to prepare. when they don’t have that option available to them.”

Glasgow’s Low Emissions Zone sets an environmental boundary in our city center – limiting access to the most polluting vehicles in order to improve air quality and protect public health. It will also make it possible to accelerate the adoption of less polluting vehicles, to encourage people to abandon the use of private cars and to increase the safety and attractiveness of our city centre.

The inclusion of all vehicle types in Glasgow’s LEZ design will maximize the deliverable health and environmental benefits and builds on the first phase (buses only) which was introduced in 2018 and has since seen a proportion much greater local cleaner, low and zero emissions. service buses circulating in our city center and beyond.

People living within the boundaries of the LEZ have more time to prepare, with the law enforcement start date for vehicles registered at a residential address in the area starting June 1, 2024.

Before the general application of the LEZ, a multidisciplinary working group oversees its planning. Procurement for cameras and back-office solutions is already underway, while the installation of the application infrastructure is advanced and should be completed by the end of the year. Official LEZ signage which has been established nationally will be installed on city streets and the M8 motorway by December, while access to vehicle databases for compliance checks and enforcement of the LEZ is underway nationally and should be in place shortly, allowing for an extended trial period before application.

Members of the committee also agreed that the council should write again to the Scottish government asking for additional funding for the taxi operators affected.