Reading Borough Council have proposed a new emissions policy for black cabs which will remove older polluting vehicles from Reading’s roads as soon as 2024 and incentivise owners to replace them with newer taxis which are less harmful to the public’s health.

The council declared a Climate Emergency earlier this year and is proposing the changes as part of its commitment to a carbon neutral town by 2030, and improvements are outlined in a report which is set to be heard by the Council’s Licensing Committee on Wednesday 23 October.

Included in the proposals will be:

  • Vehicle Age Limit of 20 years for 100% electric vehicles
  • Vehicle Age limit12-15 years for other vehicles.
  • Staged reduction in the most polluting Hackney Carriage vehicles (Euro standard 3,4 and 5a), leaving only Euro 5b and 6b or cleaner vehicles in Reading by 2024.
  • A free ‘first year’ vehicle licence fee for drivers with Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) or 100% electric vehicles, with reduced fees in subsequent years.
  • All replacement vehicles to be ULEV by 2025 and Euro 5b and Euro 6b vehicles removed altogether by 2028.
  • All replacement vehicles to be a minimum of Euro 5b with immediate effect (23 October 2019).

The Council currently charges a reduced fee of £145 per year to licence a 100% electric vehicle, compared to £346 for a 100% petrol/diesel vehicle.

There are  no Ultra Low Emission Vehicles on the Reading Hackney Carriage fleet, including LPG, electric or hybrid vehicles, which means there has been no take up of this offer to date.

New incentives now being proposed include:

  • A 25% reduction in the vehicle fee for all ULEV (emitting a maximum of 50g/km of CO2) from April 2020 and a 50% reduction for electric vehicles.
  • A free vehicle licence fee for October 2021 to October 2022 for ULEV or 100% electric vehicles which have never been on the Reading fleet before.

The Licensing Committee will be asked to agree that the new emissions policy will complement the Council’s new Local Transport Plan, with acknowledgement that more electric charging points are required for Reading to become a net carbon zero town by 2030.