Taxi companies operating in the city’s new low emission zone are being encouraged to introduce lighter and more environmentally friendly vehicles to their fleets.
Members of Brighton & Hove City Council’s licensing committee are considering proposals which should see a much wider choice of taxis available in the city over the next few years.
Changes are being proposed to the current licensing conditions for taxi companies following the council’s recent decision to introduce a low emission zone in the central Brighton & Hove bus corridor to improve air quality.
The zone, due to come into force in January next year, covers Castle Square, North Street and Western Road as far as Palmeira Square.
Under the new proposals, taxi companies will be able to add lighter vehicles which carry fewer passengers to their fleet. As well as being economical, these smaller, low emission vehicles are ideal for travelling at lower speeds and navigating narrow streets in the city.
Planners are being asked to take into account the distance and space around taxi ranks when considering proposals for new residential units. Planners will also be asked to look for opportunities to provide new taxi ranks as part of larger developments close to retail, commercial, catering and transport links.
Looking further ahead, the committee is proposing future changes to licence conditions. The include encouraging ‘auto engine cut off’ in all new cars, ‘cut pollution’ signs at taxi ranks and basing licence conditions on vehicle emissions rather than age whilst exploring ways to improve the infrastructure for vehicles using alternative fuels. Members will also consider requiring taxis to pass an oxide or nitrogen test.
Councillor Stephanie Powell, chair of the licensing committee said:
“Air pollution is well above both national and EU levels in some parts of the city, mainly because of nitrogen dioxide emissions from road transport.
“The new low emission zone is being implemented with the support of local bus operators, who recognise the benefits of lower emission vehicles.
We are now looking at a range of practical ways to encourage taxi operators to play their part and help reduce emissions further.”