Tough age limit on Northumberland taxis paused after drivers express concerns

Northumberland County Council is pressing pause on age-limit proposals for taxis to reduce emissions, after drivers expressed major concerns.

Monday, 2nd March 2020, 10:42 am
Updated Monday, 2nd March 2020, 1:58 pm

As previously reported, the authority was proposing that from April, new taxi licences would only be issued to cars which are less than four years old, meaning they would all meet the EURO 6 emissions standard.

For existing vehicles, a maximum eight-year life would be adopted, with a start date of April 2023, while wheelchair-accessible vehicles would have an extra two years, meaning that April 2025 is the compliance date.

All 12 local authorities in the North East had agreed to this plan, with the aim of introducing the new rules at the same time to ensure consistency across the region.

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File picture of a taxi sign

However, at its meeting on February 26, the council’s licensing committee heard that the consultation had resulted in one of the largest responses the authority has had from the taxi industry.

David Sayer, the council’s business compliance and public safety unit manager, said: “The responses are generally supportive that there should be tighter controls on the emissions from taxis, but the timing is really an issue for lots of them.

“There are a number of very significant concerns across the trade. It’s really shown us that we need to go away and do some more work.”

Phil Soderquest, the authority’s head of public protection, added: “When you look at the policy we have in Northumberland, founded on EURO standards, we do already have controls which are better than in many other authorities in the North East.

“We need to try to work with the trade, because it’s a significant benefit to Northumberland County Council. Quite clearly the trade has expressed, quite strongly, some views here.”

The committee agreed that the process should be halted for further discussions with taxi drivers and to ensure a unified approach across the North East.

Coun Trevor Cessford said: “You might expect them to push as far as they can get away with, but I had to agree with what most of them said.”

Coun Les Bowman added: “All authorities in the North East need to be singing from the same hymn-sheet.”