Furious taxi drivers are set to hit Edinburgh City Council with a raft of licensing appeals over “practical difficulties” of drivers meeting its new emissions policy, city officials have admitted.
Since May, the city council’s no emissions policy states that no taxi or private hire car will be acceptable unless it meets Euro 5 or 6 standards. Vehicles more than a decade old are also set to be refused a licence.
A taxi driver has been given a reprieve for a year after she splashed out more than £4,000 on a vehicle before receiving a letter informing her of a change in policy by the City of Edinburgh Council. The vehicle is believed to only meet Euro 3 standards.
Linda Jarvis bought her TX1 London black taxi at the beginning of May and was charged for the vehicle to be tested by council officials. But when the back cab was presented for testing, Mrs Jarvis was told it couldn’t be completed because the council had changed its policy. Mrs Jarvis did not receive a letter from the council about the change in policy until May 23 or 24.
Jonny Nisbet, representing Ms Jarvis, said:“Our client was, through a lack of notice of the changes in policy and conditions, led into considering there to be no issue with the licensing of the taxi which she purchased. Our client has acted in good faith and to her considerable cost.”Regulatory services manager Andrew Mitchell, said: “This is the first of what I suspect will be a number of similar applications the committee will have to decide on over the coming months.
“One of the concerns was there had been a certain shift where existing operators were selling off old vehicles and drivers were paying to bring them up to standards – so members agreed to a cut-off.”
“This person had bought a taxi that would have been acceptable but because of the new policy, is now not acceptable. There will be some cases where people were just not aware.A council spokeswoman said: “Following agreement by members of the Licensing Sub-Committee to amend the licensing conditions with regard to the age and emissions standards of taxis and private hire cars, it was further agreed to allow applicants who are severely impacted by the change to apply for an exemption to the policy.
“As was the situation on Thursday, this decision is made on a case by case basis.”