The Scottish Government is to meet with taxi drivers and unions to discuss fears over changes to Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ).
Glasgow MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy quizzed Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth on the Scottish Government’s support for taxi drivers in Glasgow ahead of changes to the city’s LEZ, during a debate at Holyrood.
New rules will come into force in June 2023, introducing stricter restrictions on vehicle emissions which will see some cars banned from entering the LEZ – which covers the city centre.
The changes will affect taxis, and it is feared that thousands of taxi drivers will not be able to comply with the new restrictions and will be put out of work.
Ms Gilruth said: “To help taxi drivers prepare for low emission zones, the Scottish Government is offering grants to upgrade taxis to the latest Euro-6 standard through the Low Emission Zone Support Fund. emissions.
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“These grants provide up to 80% of the capital cost of retrofitting, which is capped at £10,000 per vehicle.”
She said the support fund had made more than £5.5m available to households and businesses, with a further £5m being made available for 2022/23.
She added: “I understand the challenges the introduction of the LEZ presents for taxi drivers, and have agreed to a meeting with taxi representatives and unions to discuss the matter further.”
Ms Duncan-Glancy said many Glasgow taxi drivers felt the support was “not enough”.
She added: ‘Taxis provide jobs, as well as an essential service for the people of Glasgow, especially those with disabilities who cannot access other modes of transport.
She said she was “deeply concerned” about the limited number of second-hand taxis available to meet low-emission standards, and asked what other actions the Scottish Government was taking to help taxi drivers upgrade their vehicles, if ensure they are not paying ‘extort’ amounts for new ones, or are not being forced out of the trade.
Ms Gilruth noted that Glasgow’s taxi fleet consists of a “significantly higher” number of older taxis than in other parts of Scotland.
She spoke about the funding available, adding: ‘I am meeting with taxi drivers and unions soon to discuss this in more detail and to see what additional support we could offer.’
MSP Kaukab Stewart praised the program, said there would be “challenges for some”, but argued there would be “significant benefits”.
She asked about the benefits it would have on the air quality in the city center.
Gilruth said the changes would “significantly reduce harmful transport emissions in parts of the city centre” and help meet emissions reduction targets.