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Oxford Council okays one-year taxi emission standards extension, but rejects any longer

The Oxford City Council has agreed to postpone the introduction of new emission standards for Hackney Carriage Vehicles by a year.

The move comes in response to a detailed review by the General Purposes Licensing Committee, which heard numerous appeals for flexibility amid rising economic pressures on the taxi industry.

Set against a backdrop of environmental urgency, the initial strategy aimed to significantly lower the city's air pollution levels by enforcing stricter emission criteria for taxis. The original plan, heralded in January 2019, mandated all new and renewal taxi licences to meet Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) standards by January 2025. The phased approach intended to upgrade the fleet gradually, beginning with a minimum Euro 4 standard for renewals from 2020 and escalating to full ULEV compliance for all applications by the 2025 deadline.

The urgent appeal for a delay by the City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association, highlighted by the economic hardships faced by the taxi trade, prompted a comprehensive public consultation. An overwhelming 82.16% of the participants favoured a three-year delay, highlighting financial constraints and the desire to support the taxi trade as their primary concerns.

This sentiment was mirrored in the substantial feedback from taxi operators, residents, and environmental stakeholders, who collectively pointed towards the need to strike a careful balance between ambitious environmental goals and the economic realities of taxi operators.

The Oxford City Council, taking into account the consultation and recommendations from its Environmental Sustainability Officers and key council members, settled on a one-year delay.


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