Updated: May 2, 2022
The Scottish Government are set to meet with taxi drivers and industry representatives to have showdown talks over the ongoing concerns relating to Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ).
With Low Emissions Zone rules coming into play next year, concerns have been urgently raised about the number of taxis which could be left to actively operate in the city.
Unite Union Glasgow Cab Section have stressed for several months that around 1,000 iconic taxi vehicles could be taken off the roads in one fell swoop if an additional extension to meet requirements isn’t implemented.
Currently, out of the 1,420 taxis licensed by Glasgow City Council, around 1,000 do not meet the requirements set to come into play in just over a year.
During a Scottish Parliament debate on the topic this week, Glasgow MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy asked Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth what their response to the reported concerns of taxi drivers will be.
Minister Gilruth responded: “To help taxi drivers to prepare for low-emission zones, the Scottish Government offers grant funding towards the cost of retrofitting taxis to the latest Euro 6 standard through the low-emission zone support fund. Those grants provide up to 80 per cent of the capital cost of retrofitting, which is capped at £10,000 per vehicle.
“From 2019 to 2022, the LEZ support fund has made more than £5.5 million available to households and businesses, and the Scottish Government is offering a further £5 million via the LEZ support fund for 2022-23.
“I understand the challenge that the introduction of LEZs presents to taxi drivers, and I have agreed to have a meeting with taxi representatives and unions to discuss the matter further. We are looking for a suitable date in the diary for that meeting.”
Duncan-Glancy followed up her original question, saying: “The minister will be aware that many taxi drivers in Glasgow feel that that support is not enough.
“Taxis provide employment, as well as an essential service that enables people in Glasgow to get around—especially disabled people who cannot access other forms of transport. Therefore, I am deeply concerned that only a limited number of second-hand taxis are available that can meet low-emission standards.
“What other specific action will the Scottish Government take to help drivers to upgrade vehicles and ensure that they are not forced to spend extortionate or unreasonable amounts in purchasing new ones or, worse still, forced out of the profession altogether?”
The Minister responded again: “As Pam Duncan-Glancy outlined, the Glasgow taxi fleet includes a significantly higher number of older taxis than the fleets of other cities in the country do. That might be partly due to Glasgow City Council licensing conditions being less stringent than those in other parts of the country.
“As far as the provision of support is concerned, the low-emission zone retrofit fund that I mentioned provides grant funding of up to 80 per cent of the cost of retrofitting. As part of the LEZ retrofit fund, the clean vehicle retrofit accreditation scheme offers further opportunities that allow taxis to be retrofitted with new engines so that liquefied petroleum gas fuel can be used or with new exhausts for the existing diesel engine. There is also the low-emission zone support fund, which is available to eligible microbusinesses.
“As I outlined in my initial response, I will meet taxi drivers and unions soon to discuss in more detail what more support we might be able to provide.”