Berkshire

Reading black cabs to go green in new low emission rules

Reading station taxi rank
Image caption The new policy has divided opinion among Reading's black cab drivers

The entire fleet of black cabs in Reading is to be replaced under new council-approved environmental rules.

From 2028, only electric or ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV), costing up to £70k each, will be licensed to operate.

The removal of the vehicles will be staggered according to age after the Reading Taxi Association (RTA) raised financial concerns for the drivers.

The borough council said it was phasing out the more polluting vehicles as part of its "climate emergency" agenda.

Divided opinions

The new Hackney Carriage Vehicle Emissions And Age Policy, approved on Wednesday evening, has put a 15-year age limit on all non-electric vehicles, with all replacement vehicles needing to comply with a maximum CO2 emissions level.

It has divided opinion among the town's cab drivers.

Reading Cab Drivers' Association chair, Mirza Beg, said the new rules would "end the life of the vehicle prematurely", meaning that "drivers are losing between one and four years of the life of their vehicle".

RTA chair Asif Rashid approved of the new policy, stating: "I'm pleased we are now being given sufficient time to the make the change."

He said a lower emission Hackney carriage vehicle, which can only be used until 2028, costs around 40k "when hire purchase payments are taken into account" and a ULEV costs around £70k.

Councillor Tony Page, head of Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: "Road transport is the largest source of carbon dioxide pollution.

"The council ... will reduce and eventually remove altogether the most polluting black cabs on Reading's roads.

"By 2028, all black cabs in Reading would be ultra low emission vehicles."

He added that currently, 171 out of the fleet of 216 are classed as the most polluting vehicles.

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