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Cabinet to Consider Taxi Trade Talks

South Tyneside Council is looking to consult on changes to its taxi fleet in a bid to improve air quality.

A proposed change to licensing policy, which would mean vehicles entering the taxi trade could be no more than four years old, will be considered by the Council's Cabinet next week.

They will be asked to give the go ahead to begin consultation about the introduction of an age restriction policy which would help cut emissions and promote a cleaner fleet.

The policy would contribute to the drive towards a regional emissions standard for taxis and private hire vehicles, which the 12 North East local authorities agreed in 2018 should be pursued.

If the policy were adopted following consultation, the 'Euro 6' standard would apply from 1 July 2020 - meaning that any new vehicle wanting to enter the taxi trade could be no more than four years old.

It would also mean that from 1 July 2023, existing licensed vehicles could be a maximum of eight years old.

Cllr Mark Walsh, Lead Member for Housing and Transport, said: "The introduction of these changes would help us move towards our goal of a carbon neutral future as well as having a significant impact on air quality and improving public health.

"Taxis are an important part of the transport mix in the borough and it's important that we get the trade's views on this. No decisions have been made and we're keen for them to engage in the consultation and tell us what they think.

"This is about looking to the future and as a council, we are committed to creating a transport network that allows us to travel in a healthy, efficient and sustainable way."

Fully electric and zero emission vehicles would be exempt from the policy.

If given the go ahead, consultation would also consider an amendment to the council's existing tint policy, which specifies the minimum amount of light transmittance permitted through windows of taxis.

Applying tint to windows increases fuel economy and cuts emissions because it reduces the need to use air conditioning systems which can decrease fuel mileage.

Last year South Tyneside Council declared a climate emergency and pledged to take all necessary steps to make the council carbon neutral by 2030.

It committed to producing a climate change strategy, supported by a five-year action plan, by March 31, 2020. It also pledged to become a champion for a carbon neutral future for the Borough.

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