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Glasgow City Council urges taxi drivers to apply for temporary LEZ exemptions


Image credit: Ross Campbell

Taxi operators with vehicles that won't comply with Glasgow's forthcoming Low Emission Zone are being urged to take advantage of exemptions that provide flexibility for operators up until 1 June 2024.


Glasgow's LEZ is due to come into effect on 1 June this year when vehicles that do not meet the zone's emissions standards will face enforcement action. The time-limited exemptions for non-compliant taxis were agreed by the council's City Administration Committee last year, and allow extra time for operators who do not yet meet the zone's requirements.

Taxi operators will need to apply for the temporary exemption and show they either do not have access to a funded retrofit solution or that they have applied for or submitted an expression of interest in securing retrofit funding, but are waiting for the necessary upgrades to be undertaken. 


Around £3million of retrofit funding has been made available by the Scottish Government to date to support taxi operators to transition to LEZ compliance.

Applications for exemptions should be submitted by 31 May this year in time for LEZ enforcement beginning in June.


Councillor Angus Millar, City Convener for Transport and Climate, is calling upon those with non-compliant taxis to move quickly to apply for relevant time-limited LEZ exemptions.


Councillor Millar believes this is an equitable approach to ensuring a crucial measure for tackling city centre air quality goes ahead while also meeting the concerns of the taxi trade.


He said: "At every step we have supported the shift to LEZ compliance by encouraging eligible operators to take advantage of available funding for clean, new vehicles or for retrofitting existing vehicles.


"But we recognise that for some taxis retrofit is not an option or there can be delays to retrofit work being undertaken. Granting temporary exemptions to give more time to achieve compliance with a vital public health measure is a practical way to support the taxi sector as we move towards enforcement of Glasgow's LEZ.


"With the LEZ going live in June, it's crucial that any taxi operator whose vehicle does not yet meet the standards of the LEZ moves quickly to secure access to the time-limited exemptions provided for.


"With the application process that is now open, no public hire taxi should be off the road this June as a result of the LEZ, with flexibility up until June 2024 provided to support the transition to compliance."


The first phase of Glasgow's Low Emission Zone began in 2018 with the introduction of measures that encouraged a shift to cleaner, low and zero emission buses travelling through the city centre and elsewhere in Glasgow. 


From 1 June this year, the LEZ will operate 24 hours a day, all year round and apply to all vehicles, covering an area that is bounded by the M8 to the north and west of the city centre, the River Clyde to the south and the High Street and Saltmarket to the east. The zone will be enforced through the use of automatic number plate recognition cameras.


In general terms diesel vehicles registered after September 2015, petrol vehicles registered from 2006 onwards and buses, coaches and HGVS registered from January 2013 will meet the required LEZ standards, although drivers are advised to check with their vehicle manual or the manufacturer for confirmation. 


Exemptions also exist for vehicles driven by disabled people, emergency vehicles, armed forces vehicles, historic vehicles and showman's vehicles as well as motorcycles and mopeds. Those living within the LEZ boundary have additional time to prepare, with the enforcement start date for vehicles registered to a residential address within the zone, commencing on 1 June 2024.


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