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GREEN MEANS GO


NOTTINGHAM TAXI DRIVERS FEAR FOR FUTURE OF BLACK CABS DUE TO PURCHASE COSTS


Taxi drivers are worried about the future of Nottingham’s black cabs as some drivers move to Uber to avoid having to pay up to £60,000 for new vehicles. The West Bridgford Wire reports that Nottingham City Council wants around 400 of its hackney fleet to be upgrad- ed to low emission vehicles in order to improve air quality.


Chander Sood, 62, of Wollaton, is among drivers who have criticised the system. A driver for the last 27 years, he is also a former secretary of the Not- tingham City Hackney Carriage Owners and Drivers Association. Mr Sood said he is aware of between 80 and 90 drivers who are considering leaving or have left the trade. He said: “The difference between the electric cabs and the normal cabs is huge in terms of cost. A lot of drivers


have left the trade – the price of the new vehicles is the main reason. Drivers are switching to Uber as you can buy a hybrid for around £15,000.” Mr Sood said he is paying £827 a month on his £60,000 new LEVC vehi- cle and said the only help he had from the council is a one-off £400 payment to help during the pandemic, which was a humiliation. Mr Sood said drivers fear for the future of the traditional black cab and whether it will continue to operate in the city in the near future. Cllr Sally Longford, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Carbon Reduction and Sustainability, said: “We’ve worked closely with the trade to explain our plans around moving towards a fleet of low-emission vehicles. “This commitment to reduce air pollu- tion has helped us avoid a charging


CAZ as in other parts of the country. “Around 150 drivers have already made the change and we have adopted a flexible approach throughout. “There was a lead-in time of more than two years to respond to new rules requiring only Euro 6 diesel or ultra-low emission vehicles to be eligible for a licence to operate in Nottingham. “Around 50 people have handed back their hackney plates in the past year, but some of these have retired while others have continued to operate as private hire drivers. “We’re aware that passengers want drivers who take card payments – many hackneys are cash-only. “We are not going to reverse our policy on clean vehicle requirements which help meet our duties under the Clean Air Act and it would be unfair to those who have already invested in new vehicles.”


CALLS TO SCRAP PLANNED CLEAN AIR ZONE CHARGES IN BRADFORD ARE DEFEATED


Proposals by local Conservatives to scrap plans to charge owners of high polluting vehicles to enter Bradford city centre have been dismissed. The Telegraph and Argus reports that during an at times heated debate dur- ing a meeting of Bradford Council on Tuesday 13 July, local Tories said the planned CAZ charges could damage business in the city and hit taxi and pri- vate hire drivers, shop owners and small businesses.


But the leading Labour group hit back by claiming the Conservative Govern- ment had forced the Council’s hand. Government grants worth millions of pounds will be provided to owners of such vehicles to help them upgrade to cleaner engines. The proposals have been criticised, particularly by the district’s taxi and PHV drivers. The council recently


AUGUST 2021


announced it would be asking Govern- ment to allow them to reduce the daily charge for non-compliant taxis from £12.50 to £7. Conservative Cllr Debbie Davies put forward a motion at the full Council meeting on Tuesday urging the Council to amend the CAZ to a non-charging zone, where people could get grants to upgrade their vehicles but would face no penalty if they continued to drive more polluting vehicles. She said around 80 per cent of HGVs were already compliant, and argued that traffic levels were unlikely to rise to pre pandemic levels any time soon. She also said new cycle lanes would lead to more people cycling to work, and the rise in popularity of electric cars were all reasons the CAZ plans should be reconsidered. She disputed the claim by the Labour


group that the Government had ordered the council to introduce a charging part of the CAZ. In response to the motion Council lead- er Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe said: “The Government hasn’t said ‘would you like a Clean Air Zone? They have seen out pollution data and concluded that it is intolerable and not within legal limits and has commanded us by legal order to bring in a CAZ. There is no way the Government would allow a non-charg- ing Clean Air Zone.” The Conservative motion was ultimate- ly defeated, replaced with a Labour amendment that repeated the call to allow the taxi and private hire charge to be reduced to £7 a day and for Envi- ronment Minister Rebecca Pow, to visit Bradford district once the restrictions ease to talk to councillors of all parties about the directive for the CAZ.


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