Council set to give green light to policy limiting age of taxi vehicles in Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 07:30 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:06 17 September 2019
Ipswich Borough Council is set to give the green light to its new taxi licencing policy - which would set a maximum age on vehicles to combat harmful emissions.
The council is set to meet on Wednesday to make a decision on the policy, having been recommended to approve it.
If given the go-ahead, the policy would run until 2022 and would place a limit on the age of vehicles used as a taxi, with the aim of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions in the town by 57%.
It also sets guidelines for taxi drivers, including a code of conduct and a dress code.
Alasdair Ross, the borough council's portfolio holder for community protection said: "The drivers themselves have a key role as ambassadors for the borough and customers rightly expect that in using licensed vehicles they will be transported in comfort and safety.
"This will help to ensure that the industry and the local economy thrive".
By 2020, all existing licenced private hire vehicles must be less than 15 years old when their licence is renewed.
Hackney carriages, which can pick up fares at taxi ranks and be hailed from the street, must be less than four years old and wheelchair accessible when first presented for licencing.
The policy states: "In order to impact on air quality it is important to set standards that are common to all within the vehicle fleet, to ensure consistency and a level playing field for proprietors, operators and drivers.
"The age limit is critical to the level of pollutants emitted, therefore to improve air quality, standards relating to age will be introduced."
The policy goes on to say in 2025, the maximum age for private hire vehicles will be further reduced to 10 years.
A consultation on the plans was launched in December 2019, and ran until February this year.
Taxi drivers in Ipswich have warned the policy would put many of them in financial hardship.
Ipswich Station Taxi Tenants Association voiced an objection to the policy, saying 'a lot drivers face an uncertain future' if it gets the go-ahead.
A spokesman said: "We accept that the world is heading down a greener path and we are in agreement with this.
"But its the unworkable timescale and the immediate costs we are objecting to."