New air quality vehicle licence conditions set for taxi and private hire drivers in Southampton
As part of the Green City Charter, Southampton City Council have set goals to help improve air quality. The council have identified road transport as being one of the major contributors to poor air quality in the city, and have deemed a reduction in vehicle emissions across the city as essential.
Southampton City Council say there is growing evidence that poor air quality can be responsible for a range of health issues including cancer, respiratory and heart illnesses.
To reduce further emissions produced by the local taxi trade, officials have added new conditions to ensure we have a clean air compliant fleet in Southampton by 2023. The aim of the additional conditions is to prevent older, more polluting vehicles being provided with a taxi or private hire licence. Changes will be introduced in two stages, with the first coming into effect on 1 January 2020. The council contacted all local taxi and private hire licence holders in April 2019, asking for feedback on the proposed additional conditions. During the eight week consultation, the council received three responses.
The council introduced several incentives to support taxi and private hire vehicle owners with changing to low emission vehicles. The Low Emission Taxi Incentive Scheme (LETIS), provides a grant to eligible taxi owners, providing up to £3,000 cashback in license cost. Since the launch in December 2017, 77 upgrades have completed. There is a limited number of grants available on a first come, first served basis.
Councillor Steve Leggett, Cabinet Member for Green City and Environment, added: “The need to take urgent, strong action against air pollution is essential. We know people living, working and visiting Southampton share our commitment to improving air quality and reducing pollution across the city. “