Leeds City Council announced this week it will be pushing back the introduction of its Clean Air Zone, which will see older non-compliant vehicles charged a daily or weekly fee to gain access.
The plans caused concerns amongst the city's taxi and private hire drivers, who say the cost of switching to zero emissions capable vehicles is too high.
Any taxi or private hire vehicle that doesn't meet the minimum requirements to drive within the Clean Air Zone would be subject to a weekly charge of £50.
The council announced within its plans that any exemptions placed on compliant taxis or PHV's would be extended to drivers licensed by other authorities.
A report released by the council, said: 'Under the new proposals for the taxi and private hire sector, temporary and permanent exemptions would be standardised to apply equally to drivers operating in Leeds regardless of their licensing authority; the exemption for wheelchair accessible vehicles would be extended until 2028; and vehicles meeting CAZ standards within 12 months of the zone’s launch would be protected from future changes to the CAZ standards for the licensable lifetime of their vehicle.'
The exemption for compliant out-of-town drivers means they will gain a upper hand over local drivers that are unable to afford newer taxis and who already face an uphill battle to fight off the influx of drivers flooding the market from surrounding areas.
After changes to the law surrounding taxi licensing, brought in by the Deregulation Act 2015, drivers with a private-hire licence from a local authority can use it to operate anywhere in England and Wales.
Previously, the law required drivers to return to the area in which they were licensed between jobs.
A number of licensing authorities, along with taxi and private hire unions and trade representatives, have called for the government to step in and put a stop cross-border hiring.
Image: Source; Geograph
Image: Author; David Dixon