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Greens concerned over watering down of taxi rules

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County Durham Greens have expressed concern over the watering down of new proposals for the licensing hackney carriage and private hire licences.

In our response to the county council’s public consultation on the new proposals we ask why they have been weakened since the previous draft.

“Why, given Durham County Council’s commitment to reduce emissions and to lead the way on climate change, is County Durham destined to have one of the weakest emission standards for taxi licensing across all the North East local authorities?”

We are also concerned that the county council is not following Department for Transport guidelines to ensure consistency of standards across local authority borders.

“Given that there was originally an aim to standardise the taxi emissions licence standards across all 12 North East local authority areas (as taxis do not stay within council boundaries) we would question why the council was unable to achieve this.

“We also feel there should be more of a statement on how the county council will be encouraging licensees to switch to electric vehicles, for example via grants or low emissions zones in the towns/city.”

We also point out that there is little in the new proposals about encouraging environmental sustainability by better vehicle maintenance, eco-driving practices, and switching off engines while stationary or idling. Other local authorities have statements on this.

Cllr Jonathan Elmer of County Durham Green Party said,

“The proposals fall short of what other councils in the region are doing in reducing the environmental impact of the taxi industry.

“Taxis are a very important part of transport provision. There is a great opportunity here to reduce their environmental impact, but Durham County Council appears to have rowed back on earlier proposals that recommended tighter emission regulations.”

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