Glasgow taxi drivers ask for funds to meet new Low Emission Zone standards

From 1 June 2023, Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) will come into force, and all vehicles entering the city centre zone area will need to meet the less-polluting emission standards or face a penalty charge notice (PCN).

The LEZ will cover an area of the city centre bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west, the River Clyde to the south, and Saltmarket/High Street to the east. Non-compliant vehicles entering the zone will be identified using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.

“Although we’ve made good progress in recent years to improve Glasgow’s air quality, harmful nitrogen dioxide is being recorded in our city centre at levels that do not meet the legal requirements,” according to the city’s authorities. “As the main source of this harmful pollutant is from road traffic, Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone is an essential measure to improve air quality and help protect public health, especially for those most vulnerable.”

Emission standards for LEZs in Scotland have been set nationally, and vehicles powered by alternative fuels, including LPG, CNG and electrics, meet the standards and are allowed to access the zones.

In this regard, many taxis in the city do not meet the requirements and could stop their activity. A spokesperson for Glasgow Taxis said: “Finance – almost all taxi operators surveyed said being unable to access suitable finance was the main reason they would be forced to leave the trade.

“There is also a lack of used compliant taxis available on the market. The only choice of new vehicle is around £70,000. Drivers were required to finance that having just about survived coming through a pandemic.

“Some drivers have opted to modify their taxis to meet the standards. For the LPG conversion, the investment from the operator is around £2,000, and there’s about £10,000 of a grant. That requires to be kept for a further three years.

“And, at the completion of that three years, it’s still a significant age of vehicle, which is why Glasgow Taxis suggests that that whole funding gets relooked at.

“If we had significantly more time to meet the requirements, and more creative funding solutions available to our operators and drivers, not only would we help Glasgow fulfil its LEZ ambitions but we would at the same time ensure Glasgow can enjoy a sizeable and healthy taxi trade for future years.”

According to the Energy Saving Trust, which help businesses within a 20km radius of the four LEZs in Scotland (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee) to retrofit their non-compliant vehicles, the Low Emission Zone Retrofit Fund is closed. Due to high demand for the fund, the full allocation of funds for the financial year 2022-23 have been issued and they are unable to accept further applications.

Source: Glasgow World

12 April 2023