Over 400 taxis set to “disappear from Glasgow’s streets” by next summer

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More than 400 black cabs could disappear from Glasgow’s streets if they don’t become LEZ compliant by next summer according to a conservative councillor. 

During Thursday’s full council meeting, Bailieston representative John Daly, pointed out that 462 taxis were non compliant with the city’s LEZ (low emission zone) stipulations and did not have a retrofit grant to ensure they are LEZ friendly in time. 

Glasgow City Council agreed to introduce its LEZ this summer in 2017 and Councillor Daly wanted to know what is being done to ensure that these cabs can stay on the roads next summer. 

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So far a total of £1.9 million has been paid by the Scottish Government to support taxi retrofit in the Glasgow region but 51 vehicles cannot be retrofitted and 411 are not in receipt of funding. 

The survey aims to find out how people in Glasgow travel.The survey aims to find out how people in Glasgow travel.
The survey aims to find out how people in Glasgow travel. | Shutterstock

Councillor Angus Millar said: “Ahead of the introduction of LEZ enforcement in June this year the council also provided further flexibility by offering a one year exemption for those operators who had submitted an expression of interest in the retrofit fund but had not yet had a retrofit undertaken but also to those operators who for a variety of reasons who were unable to receive that funding.

“This could be for example because the vehicle is not of a retrofitable type or because they had a larger multi vehicle business model and those businesses have always been expected to finance their own fleet renewal.

“In providing these exemptions, the council has always been clear that these are time limited for a period of one year. These arrangements were put in place to achieve compliance in addition to the five years notice already provided from formally agreeing to in 2018.”

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Analysis of the Glasgow taxi fleet suggests that 787 taxis are compliant, with an additional 93 currently in receipt of a confirmed grant with retrofit work expected to be completed by early next June.

Councillor Millar added: “Of the remaining fleet, 51 vehicles are of a model for which there was no retrofit option and renewal will be required, 411 are of a type where a solution is likely to exist but they are not currently in receipt of funding, either because they are on the LEZ fund waiting list or because they are ineligible for funding.

“The council will continue to provide further flexibilities where providers can evidence they are taking active steps to achieve compliance.”

But councillor Daly still had some concerns about what this would mean for Glasgow’s residents and visitors. He said: “What is important now is that we are in a situation where next summer we will have more than 400 taxis effectively disappearing from the streets of Glasgow.

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“It is our duty as elected members that the residents, citizens and visitors to Glasgow are able to transport themselves safely and quickly across this city.

“What is being done to ensure we do not fall off a cliff edge with 400 plus taxis this summer.”

Councillor Millar responded: “We are keen to explore flexibility in transition to compliance and that has been the focus.

“We need the vehicles that are entering the city centre to be of a standard that is not contributing to the air pollution problems. In some of the city centre streets taxis are one of the largest contributors to that air pollution.

“We will continue to show flexibility and engage further on this matter.”

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