SUPPORT GIVEN: Bury Council EXTEND taxi emissions and age limit compliance date by two years to 2026
Bury Council is changing its Minimum Licensing Standards proposals in order to help drivers and owners of taxis and private hire vehicles.
This has been done as a result of ongoing engagement with the taxi and private hire trade and due to concerns around the changed economic climate since the standards were first brought in, coupled with the impact of the cost of living crisis and the delayed opening of the Clean Taxi Fund.
The primary aim of bringing in Minimum Licensing Standards (MLS) was to ensure public safety and protection, and to improve vehicle emission standards, across Greater Manchester.
The emissions and age compliance date for existing licence proprietors initially proposed was 1 April 2024 for all fleets across GM. This date was proposed on the basis that the Clean Taxi Fund was due to open early 2022, and that the Government’s Clean Air legal directive was for compliance by 2024.
Since then, the Government has issued a new Clean Air directive which requires compliance by 2026. As the funding support package has not yet been agreed, and is not likely to be until summer 2023 at the earliest, this would adversely affect many vehicle licence holders with non-compliant vehicles who would be unable to access funding to replace their vehicles before their licence is due for renewal.
The following changes were approved by the council on Wednesday 22 March 2023 for existing vehicle licence proprietors:
that the transitional arrangements in relation to age and emissions standards are extended from 1 April 2024 to 1 April 2026. This will help hackney carriage and private hire vehicle owners to transition to the new requirements, while allowing them the ability to take advantage of the funding support package (Clean Air funding) once it is available. In order to achieve this compliance date, the amended policy will state that from 1 April 2025 a vehicle licence will not be renewed if the vehicle does not meet the above standards.
the implementation date for the written-off vehicle standards is extended to 1 April 2026. This will permit vehicle licence holders who are currently licensed in Bury with a previously written off vehicle prior to the implementation of the Stage 2 of Common Minimum Standards in November 2021 to continue to be able to licence the vehicle until the 1 April 2026. In order to achieve compliance, the amended policy will state that from 1 April 2025 a vehicle licence will not be renewed if the vehicle has been previously written off. There will be no change to council policy relating to new vehicle licence applications in relation to this standard.
For new applications for vehicle licences:
the minimum age requirement for new vehicles coming into the fleet is removed for hackney carriages and private hire vehicles.
Councillor Charlotte Morris, cabinet member for culture and the economy, said: “Since the original minimum licensing standards were agreed, the economic circumstances that taxi drivers are operating in have changed substantially, and the cost of living crisis continues to bite.
“Alongside that, thanks to pressure from local leaders, the Government has rowed back on imposing a charging Clean Air Zone on Bury and Greater Manchester, meaning delays to the opening of the Clean Taxi Fund which would have helped drivers upgrade to newer, cleaner vehicles.
“We work closely with the taxi and private hire trade through regular engagement and consultation and, on this issue, we have listened and responded.”
The changes have been warmly welcomed by the trade. Mr Khalid Hussain, Bury Hackney Association, said: “I’m extremely happy that the council has recommended the changes and is working with the Hackney trade and building a stronger and more positive relationship. The current economic crisis has severely burdened Hackney drivers, with numbers decreasing, and this will surely help all the drivers in Bury earn a better living in these difficult times.”