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‘THE FIGHT’S NOT OVER YET’: Glasgow cabbies handed boost in battle to keep taxis on the road

The battle to keep more than 1,000 black cabs on the streets of Glasgow got a fresh boost as Labour Councillor ‘calls in’ decision saying “the fight’s not over yet”.

After nearly two-years of low-demand during the coronavirus pandemic, Glasgow’s taxi drivers are concerned that their fleet could be DECIMATED by around 1,000 black cabs due to new Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards beginning soon.

Of the 1,420 taxis licensed by Glasgow City Council (GCC), around 1,000 do not meet strict new emissions criteria set for June 2023.

Unite Union Glasgow Cab Section had been calling for councillors to make black cabs exempt from the scheme for a short period to allow the sector to recover sufficiently from the coronavirus pandemic.

GCC amended plans slightly to reflect the impact of the pandemic on the uptake of the retrofitting scheme. Taxi operators who can demonstrate by early 2023 that they have applied for retrofitting grants, are awaiting vehicle conversion work or are in the process of purchasing a compliant vehicle will now be able to run their business without penalty should their taxi not yet be compliant by the time the LEZ becomes enforceable.

Union officials, politicians and councillors believe the measures signed off by GCC last week do not go far enough to help the industry and remain committed to securing the long-term future of the taxi industry.

Today Councillor Malcolm Cunning said: “Glasgow Labour has written to the Chief Executive of GCC "calling in" last week's decision on LEZs and the ruinous conditions on the Glasgow cab trade. This effectively suspends the decision pending further consideration by a council scrutiny committee.

“The fight's not over yet.”

Paul Sweeney, Labour & Co-op MSP for Glasgow, said: “I visited Allied Vehicles Group in Possilpark with Pam Duncan-Glancy MSP this week.

“They are Europe's largest taxi manufacturer, employing 600 skilled people. An economic strategy for a LEZ would offer taxi drivers interest free loans and grants to upgrade taxis with Allied.

“Sadly the SNP don't care.”

Glasgow's LEZ is seen as an essential measure to improve air quality, protect public health and support wider climate change ambitions by encouraging more sustainable transport options.

Phase 1 of Glasgow's LEZ was introduced in 2018 - with a much greater proportion of cleaner, low and zero emission buses now travelling through the city centre. Subject to Scottish Ministers' approval, Phase 2 of Glasgow's LEZ will be implemented on 31 May 2022 and enforced from 1 June 2023 following a one-year grace period. Enforcement for zone residents' vehicles will start from 1 June 2024.

What will the Glasgow LEZ look like and how much will it cost?

Entry requirements for LEZs in Scotland have been set at national level for consistency. In general, diesel engine vehicles registered after September 2015 and petrol engine vehicles registered from 2006 onwards will usually meet the required emissions standards, as will buses, coaches and HGVs registered from January 2013.

Glasgow's LEZ will apply to all vehicle types, except for motorbikes and mopeds and those vehicle types or uses considered exempt - this would include emergency vehicles and vehicles for disabled persons, including blue badge holders.

Failing to comply with LEZ requirements will result in a penalty charge. This is set nationally at £60 and is reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days. Where repeat entry by the same vehicle is detected within a 90-day period, this penalty charge rate will double, doubling again on each subsequent entry up to a maximum amount determined by vehicle type.

Complementing the nationally set elements of LEZs in Scotland - the council has determined the design and operation of our own scheme based on local requirements.

Glasgow's LEZ will operate 24 hours a day - all year round, with the zone covering an area of the city centre bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west, the River Clyde to the south and Saltmarket/High St to the east.


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