Three Glasgow operators stripped of licenses after cars failed to meet LEZ requirements

Glasgow Low Emission Zone - ProDriver Magazine website news

Three Glasgow taxi operators have had their licenses revoked because their cars violated controversial low emissions zone regulations in the city, which came into force on June 1, 2023.

The companies’ vehicles did not meet the standards, the Council said. At a City Council committee meeting, they were told their licenses would not be returned until they comply with the new LEZ regulations. The firms – Unity Jackson, Cars 4U1 and J Mac Cars – did not attend the meeting.

The Scottish Private Hire Association has urged the council to take a “more sympathetic” approach to drivers struggling to meet the new requirements. Eddie Grice, Secretary General of the SPHA, said: “The current approach to Glasgow licensing is frustrating. They are suspending the licenses of these operators until they can put a compliant vehicle on the road, but at the same time the council is denying them the ability to raise the necessary funds to do so.”

He told the committee that some drivers were facing difficulty in complying with the LEZ. “We urge the authorities to do more to ease the transition. A more pragmatic and sympathetic approach is definitely needed here.” 

Conservative committee member Cllr Thomas Kerr said the council had been “warned that their rash plans for an environmental zone would have a devastating impact on many working class Glasgowers. Yet they ignored it and moved on anyway. Unfortunately, the Licensing Committee’s hands are tied by Council leadership. It’s a shame.”

Last year Glasgow Council refused a request to push back by 12 months the start of enforcement of Glasgow’s Low Emissions Zone a year for taxis and private hire cars. Private cars will be allowed a further 12 months until June 2024, however.

The Scottish Private Hire Association had asked for the delay as it argued the LEZ would have a serious impact on the taxi trade. According to council figures, 26% of the private hire fleet would require replacement by the enforcement date.

SPHA’s Grice said: “Retrofitting options are not available to the private hire trade. Only the hackney taxi has been given retrofit options. All private hire cars need to be replaced for compliant vehicles by the LEZ enforcement date.”

The LEZ will operate 24 hours a day, all year round. It will affect 226 streets throughout the city centre bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west and the River Clyde to the south.

But unlike the London ULEZ, there is no option to pay a daily charge to enter the zone with a non-compliant car. Any non-compliant car that does not meet Euro 4 (petrol) or Euro 6 (diesel) emissions standards. Will simply be issued with a daily £60 fine, which drops to £30 if paid within two weeks. 

However, the penalty doubles with each breach of the rules, up to a cap of £480 for cars and £960 for HGVs and buses. After 90 days have passed without the vehicle entering the zone, the charge is dropped again to £60.

Across Scotland just over a fifth of vehicles do not meet emissions standards.