Leeds council have come under fire from cabbies and councillors after taxi drivers bringing passengers into the city from regions surrounding Leeds have been hit with the charge. Cabbies in the Kirklees area have been hot partucularly hard, being forced to pay thousands of pounds in charges for entering the city’s clean air zone, whilst Leeds based drivers see the charges waived.
As a result, ot has been reported in The Batley and Birstall News that councillors in the Kirklees have called for what has been termed a “unified approach” which would prevent local drivers from being penalised. It is also believed that drivers from Kirklees are setting up a petition in reaction to the new policy. The issue of clean air zone charging was raised at a meeting of Kirklees Council’s Licensing and Safety Committee in Huddersfield Town Hall, with Cllr Cathy Scott calling for Kirklees drivers to receive the same exemption as their Leeds counterparts.
The current charging regime sees drivers from outside Leeds paying a charge of £12.50 per day as they enter the city’s clean air charging zone (CAZ). It is believed that a lot of businesses will be adversely affected due to some of them doing up to 7,000 trips a year, as a consequence and as a could see job losses. It is also believed that Leeds council is able to reduce the financial burden on its taxi drivers through the funding given to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Aspects to a proposed new policy include adopting a revised standard for testing vehicles: upon first licensing, as well as encouraging the use of low emission vehicles. However, drivers have also expressed concern that the policy only accepts applications for vehicles up to six years of age, and that vehicles over 10 years old could be refused further licences upon reaching that age limit.