The Executive Member for Planning and Growth submitted a report detailing the work carried out in relation to the emissions created by licensed vehicles, both hackney carriage and private hire vehicles, in pursuit of the Corporate Plan action for 2022/23 to implement stricter taxi emission requirements for all new vehicle applications and renewals.
The Executive Member for Planning and Growth explained that since the 1 April 2020, all taxis licensed for the first time must meet or exceed the Euro 6 emissions standards and Officers had informed the taxi trade from 1 April 2023, the same standard would be applied to all taxis including when existing vehicles licences were renewed.
The Executive Member for Planning and Growth referred to section three of the report and the 79 vehicles that were licensed and were not Euro 6 compliant that would need to be retrofitted or replaced by 1 April 2023. She said that due to the high annual mileages of 20,000 to 30,000 miles of taxis, reducing their emissions would have a significant beneficial impact on the environment.
Councillor Wilson asked if any studies had been carried to ascertain availability of taxis as mandating Euro 6 would lead to some vehicles being lost. He asked if there would be any exceptions to the policy and referred to the importance of specialised wheelchair assessable vehicles. He said that it was often difficult for the licensed trade to procure Euro 6 electric/hybrid wheelchair accessible vehicles to cater for vulnerable passengers.
The Executive Member for Planning and Growth said a dialogue had been ongoing with the taxi trade for a considerable period so this would not come as a surprise. She said that she would expect that allowances would be made if necessary and taxis might be licensed elsewhere if a dialogue did not take place.
The Head of Housing and Health confirmed that exemptions would be in place for types of taxi vehicle where there was a desperate need. He confirmed that there were not many such vehicles in East Herts and Officers were aware of pressures on the taxi trade.
Councillor Crystall asked for some clarification in terms of incentive schemes that were in place to encourage the use of electric vehicles as taxis in the District. The Head of Housing and Health summarised the incentive schemes that were in place including the installation and provision of rapid chargers.
Councillor Curtis expressed a concern that creating additional barriers would exacerbate the existing problem of supply of taxis. He said that he was very supportive of cutting emissions.
The Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability said that the Hertfordshire Climate Change Sustainability Partnership was looking at rolling out a policy in Hertfordshire in respect of low emissions. He said that a county wide charging network was being looked at for taxi drivers and the Service Manager (Licensing and Enforcement) was leading on this area of work.
Councillor Symonds proposed and Councillor Drake seconded, a motion that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee endorse the approach being taken to limit the emissions from licensed vehicles. After being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee endorse the approach being taken to limit the emissions from licensed vehicles.