Taxi operators in Glasgow who do not have access to funded retrofit solutions to meet Low Emission Zone (LEZ) requirements will be given extra 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 ‘time-limited exemption’ of one year to operators under these circumstances would see enforcement of the emission standards required by Glasgow’s LEZ deferred until June 1, 2024.
The temporary exemption reflects that without the availability of retrofit (an option largely funded by a Transport Scotland grant) some taxi operators face additional costs to meet the emission standards required to operate in Glasgow beyond the LEZ enforcement date of June 1, 2023.
Operators who are eligible for funding support, must meet LEZ emission standards by the time of general enforcement as will all other vehicles driving into the zone.
However, should issues arise over grant funding availability and/or retrofitting capacity, the council has previously guaranteed operators a short-term exemption so long as an application for funding has been made prior to 31 October 2022.
Glasgow City Council said the assurance came in response to sector feedback and has been strengthened by a recent £5 million boost to the LEZ Support Fund following dialogue between the council and the Scottish Government. This has since seen operators’ contribution toward the cost of retrofit, significantly reduced.
Councillor Angus Millar, City Convener for Transport and Climate, said: “The Low Emission Zone is a vital public health measure to tackle longstanding, illegal levels of air pollution in our city centre.
“Our approach to mitigating the impact of the LEZ on taxi operators is aimed at supporting the transition to LEZ compliance by encouraging the uptake by all eligible operators of increased Scottish Government funding for vehicle retrofit.
“Meanwhile, granting a temporary exemption to taxi operators who cannot access a funded retrofit solution to allow some more time to achieve emission compliance is a balanced and practical way to support the sector ahead of next year’s general enforcement of Glasgow’s LEZ.
“This considered approach balances our resolute determination to tackle the pressing public health issues associated with air quality as quickly as we can, with our desire to mitigate as far as possible the cost to operators to achieve compliance.
“I also very much welcome the additional funding that has been made available through the retrofit element of the LEZ Support Fund, and would again encourage the early uptake of this improved funding support for retrofits by all eligible operators.
“As we head toward LEZ enforcement, we will continue to support the taxi sector in achieving compliance, whether that is through the available retrofit funding, or by granting operators additional time to prepare where they do not have that option open to them.”