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Taxi trade to be 'decimated' by plans for 2020 Clean Air Zone.

Byline: CARL JACKSON News Reporter

BIRMINGHAM'S iconic black cab trade will be 'decimated' by the city's proposed Clean Air Zone, drivers have warned.

Because only SEVENTY-TWO of the 1,265 Hackney Carriages licensed to operate in the city will be compliant with the emission standards being imposed from January 2020.

Should the majority of black cabs disappear from the roads, it would have a major impact on disabled people, drivers warn.

Because only Hackney Carriages are required to be wheelchair accessible.

Drivers voiced their concerns during a heated meeting of the authority's Licensing and Public Protection Committee. Saj Mahmood, from the national union for Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT), said: "We want to work with the council, but you have come across with a hammer - bang!" He added: "There won't be a Hackney Carriage trade left unless the drivers were supported and the ongoing issue of 'out of area' workers was tackled once and for all."

The concerns were echoed by fellow RMT representative Mohammed Halim, who said the Clean Air Zone would 'decimate the black cab trade in the city'.

The committee agreed to go out to an eight-week consultation with the public and drivers later this month around proposed changes to the council's licensing policy.

One of the ideas is to scrap the 'exceptional condition test' which allows Hackney Carriages to be used once they are more than 14 years old, providing they are deemed roadworthy.

Through a Government pilot scheme, 65 Birmingham black cabs have been converted to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Only seven others are compliant with the emission benchmark.

The council is making a multimillion pound bid to the Government's Clean Air Fund to buy 50 ultra-low emission vehicles, 10 of which would be offered on short leases as a try-before-you-buy scheme while the rest would be available for short-term rent on hourly rates.

Additionally, the bid will include a request for PS5,000 individual support packages for up to 1,000 drivers to help them convert to LPG or run a low-emission vehicle. A report outlining final changes to the council's licensing policy is due back in February after the consultation.

to work council, you have across with a - bang!

Mahmood

We want to work with the council, but you have come across with a hammer - bang! Saj Mahmood

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 23, 2018
Words:385
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