Proposals to introduce Emission Standards for Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles

Closed 9 Jun 2017

Opened 1 Mar 2017

Feedback Updated 2 Nov 2017

We Asked

We asked for your views on our proposals to introduce a standard for vehicle emissions for taxis and private hire vehicles that we license in order to address pollution levels across the city and improve air quality. 

You Said

Although there was support for the need to improve air quality, owners of taxis and private hire vehicles who would have to replace their vehicles with newer, less polluting vehicles, though that our proposals did not give them sufficient time to prepare for the change. They were also concerned about the cost of having to buy newer vehicles and the effect that this would have on their livelihoods. We also consulted on whether to license vehicles as hackney carriages (taxis) that are not wheelchair accessible. Although many people supported this idea, concerns were raised by some respondents that it would reduce the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles available to disabled people and it would confuse the general public if some saloon vehicles were taxis, meaning that they could be flagged down in the street or work from ranks, when other saloon vehicles licensed for private hire could not be flagged down or work from ranks.    

 

We Did

The results of our consultation were used to inform the decision of the Licensing & Public Protection Committee when it met on 23rd October 2017 to consider a policy on taxi and private hire vehicle emissions. The Committee agreed to extend the time limit by which vehicles must comply with European emission standards from December 2018 (in the original proposals) to 31st December 2019. After this date vehicles licensed by Birmingham must meet the Euro 4 standard for petrol engines or the Euro 6 standard for diesel engines, or be Ultra Low Emission Vehicles or Zero Emission Capable. The Committee set a policy which did not impose any interim deadlines between 2017 and 2019 (which were included in the consultation) which would have affected the oldest vehicles first. The new policy also lowered some of the proposed emission standards that were regarded as being aspirational, but not necessary to achieve legal compliance. The Committee set a policy to say that it will not license vehicles that are not wheelchair accessible as hackney carriages because of the negative impact it would have on disabled people and the risks to public safety.

 

The Committee agreed to consider a medium to long term emissions policy separately and an age policy for the vehicles that it licenses. This decision was taken because the majority of the responses to our consultation had focussed on the immediate changes that the policy would bring about, not on the longer term consequences.  

 

Results Updated 2 Nov 2017

The results of our consultation were used to inform the decision of the Licensing & Public Protection Committee when it met on 23rd October 2017 to consider a policy on taxi and private hire vehicle emissions. The Committee agreed to extend the time limit by which vehicles must comply with European emission standards from December 2018 (in the original proposals) to 31st December 2019. After this date vehicles licensed by Birmingham must meet the Euro 4 standard for petrol engines or the Euro 6 standard for diesel engines, or be Ultra Low Emission Vehicles or Zero Emission Capable. The Committee set a policy which did not impose any interim deadlines between 2017 and 2019 (which were included in the consultation) which would have affected the oldest vehicles first. The new policy also lowered some of the proposed emission standards that were regarded as being aspirational, but not necessary to achieve legal compliance. The Committee set a policy to say that it will not license vehicles that are not wheelchair accessible as hackney carriages because of the negative impact it would have on disabled people and the risks to public safety.

 

The Committee agreed to consider a medium to long term emissions policy separately and an age policy for the vehicles that it licenses. This decision was taken because the majority of the responses to our consultation had focussed on the immediate changes that the policy would bring about, not on the longer term consequences.  

 

Overview

This is a consultation to seek the views of licensed hackney carriage and private hire vehicle owners, drivers, operators and members of the public on proposals to introduce emission standards for licensed vehicles.  

 

Why We Are Consulting

Why is the Council doing this?

You may be aware that there has been a lot of media coverage in recent months about pollution levels in the UK. The main causes of pollution in towns and cities are Nitrogen Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide (referred to as Nitrogen Oxides), which are produced in the emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles.  Air quality in city centres is a major public health concern. Air pollution is believed to be responsible for up to 900 premature deaths in Birmingham every year. Diesel produces Nitrogen Oxides and minute ‘particulates’ that are harmful to health. Although invisible to the naked eye, this form of pollution is very serious and some of the people who are most affected by it are motorists who spend long hours behind the wheel, such as taxi and private hire drivers.

In 2015 and 2016 the UK government was taken to court by an environmental pressure group called Client Earth. The Supreme Court ruled that the government’s plans to improve air quality were inadequate. It has ordered the government to act in the shortest possible time to reduce pollution levels in major towns and cities to levels that meet the Ambient Air Quality Directive, which has been enacted into British law by the Environment Act 1995. 

How will the Council improve air quality?

The Government has told Birmingham, London, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton that they must introduce Clean Air Zones (CAZ) to improve air quality in their city centres by 2020. In order to demonstrate that air quality has improved by 2020 Birmingham must have a CAZ in place and is aiming to do so by 2019, or as soon as possible before then, to be able to collect the necessary statistical data to prove that air quality has improved.

A CAZ is an area where a range of measures are put in place to control pollution.  These can include redirecting the most polluting vehicles away from the worst pollution hotspots, encouraging motorists to use park and ride schemes, making improvements to roads to reduce congestion, and encouraging the use of less polluting fuels such as Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), hydrogen fuel cells and electrically powered vehicles. One of the measures available to local authorities is taxi and private hire licensing policy which can be used to control the use of vehicles that fail to meet the prescribed vehicle emission standards.

What standards will be applied?

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has set minimum emissions standards for vehicles to be allowed entry to a CAZ. The standards are expressed according to European vehicle emission standards. Buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles must all be compliant with Euro 6. Diesel powered vans, hackney carriages and private hire vehicles will also have to meet the Euro 6 standard. Vans, hackney carriages and private hire vehicles powered by petrol will have to meet the lower Euro 4 standard because petrol is less polluting than diesel.

Where will the Clean Air Zone be?

The most polluted locations in Birmingham are in the city centre. Therefore it is likely that the CAZ will encompass the city centre, although at the time of writing the exact boundary has not been determined. Vehicles that do not meet the standard will pay a charge if they enter the zone. The Government has not yet indicated what the scale of the charge may be. 

The timescales that have been set by Government are short, but we have set out below a proposed policy for vehicle licensing which starts in December 2017 and goes through to 2030. The overall objective of the policy is to improve air quality by removing polluting vehicles from the road and encouraging the use of electrically powered vehicles (also known as Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV)).

Birmingham City Council has applied to the Government for funds to install 197 electric charging points across the city for the use of taxis and private hire vehicles.

What help is available to drivers to update their vehicles?

We recognise that the policy will need many drivers to update their vehicles. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has grants available of up to £5,000 for private hire drivers and up to £7,500 for hackney carriage drivers if they change their vehicle for a new ULEV vehicle. This is called The Plug-in Car Grant or PICG. https://www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants

We are in talks with vehicle manufacturers and operators about ways in which they can purchase fleets of ULEV vehicles to hire to drivers. 

We have made funds available to convert 63 hackney carriages from diesel to LPG, which produces very low levels of pollution. We will apply for further funding if the Department for Transport makes it available. These LPG converted vehicles will be licensable until 2021 under the proposed plan. Owners of hackney carriages that have the LPG conversion are required to pay the VAT element of the cost, which is approximately £1,300. We are continuing to look for other sources of government support. 

Areas

  • ACOCKS GREEN
  • ASTON
  • BARTLEY GREEN
  • BILLESLEY
  • BORDESLEY GREEN
  • BOURNVILLE
  • BRANDWOOD
  • CITY CENTRE
  • CITY-WIDE
  • EDGBASTON
  • ERDINGTON
  • HALL GREEN
  • HANDSWORTH WOOD
  • HARBORNE
  • HODGE HILL
  • KINGS NORTON
  • KINGSTANDING
  • LADYWOOD
  • LONGBRIDGE
  • LOZELLS AND EAST HANDSWORTH
  • MOSELEY AND KINGS HEATH
  • N/A
  • NECHELLS
  • NORTHFIELD
  • OSCOTT
  • PERRY BARR
  • QUINTON
  • SELLY OAK
  • SHARD END
  • SHELDON
  • SOHO
  • SOUTH YARDLEY
  • SPARKBROOK
  • SPRINGFIELD
  • STECHFORD AND YARDLEY NORTH
  • STOCKLAND GREEN
  • SUTTON FOUR OAKS
  • SUTTON NEW HALL
  • SUTTON TRINITY
  • SUTTON VESEY
  • TYBURN
  • WASHWOOD HEATH
  • WEOLEY

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background

Interests

  • Citizens Satisfaction
  • Communications
  • Spending
  • Environment
  • Transport (Including Walking)