Taxi drivers Q&A on Clean Air Zone

Uber drivers Lee Herriott, Virginia Halstead and Dean Higgins posed a number of questions to the council about the Clean Air Zone which the council has replied to.

Friday, 7th June 2019, 2:31 pm
Taxi drivers have quizzed Sheffield Council

Drivers:

Can we trial hydrogen on demand kits? These are cheaper, easier to install and very effective at cutting pollution.

Council:

Both hackney carriage taxis and private hire vehicles will be subject to a daily charge if they are non-compliant.

Our proposed standards for hackney carriages will be either LPG or electric vehicles and for private hire will be petrol – electric hybrids or fully electric vehicles.

Drivers:

We’ve been unable to buy new vehicles because of the confusion over what is required. Why is there a lack of information about what is required?

Council:

We understand that there is conflicting information about clean air zones – and the standards that we expect to form part of our policy about our plans for a Class C clean air charging zone on the inner ring road and in the city centre.

Sheffield is one of the first cities to introduce a low-emission zone and we will do everything possible, through the consultation and beyond, to ensure that we create a legacy that improves our city’s air quality.

Drivers:

Why are taxi drivers being penalised?

Council:

Buses and non-compliant light good vehicles such as vans will also be charged under our plans.

We will be consulting fully with drivers before any scheme is implemented.

We believe that many vehicles will be non-compliant to the required engine standards in the proposed zone.

In particular, we estimate that this will include almost the entirety of the London-style Hackney carriages due to their age and emission levels and a significant proportion of the private hire vehicle fleet.

Drivers:

What help will you give drivers?

Council:

We are looking at a number of ways that we can support them – such as offering interest-free loans to improve their vehicles and extending the period in which they can convert their vehicles.

Where taxi drivers have recently upgraded to newer vehicles which will still be non-compliant under the zone, we will consider approaches such as ‘sunset periods’ which would give those drivers additional time to replace their vehicles.

We understand that we are likely to require taxi drivers to upgrade or replace their vehicles at a much faster rate.

We are developing support packages for taxi drivers, and other fleets affected, which we are seeking funding from Government to provide a range of incentives such as interest-free loans to enable drivers to change their vehicles to meet the new standards.