Oxford City Council approves new emission standards for Hackney Carriages

Published: Thursday, 14th February 2019

Oxford City Council has taken the first step on the journey to zero with changes to the emissions standards for Hackney Carriage Vehicles.

The new emission standards – which were developed in consultation with City of Oxford Licensed Taxi Association (COLTA) and with feedback from taxi drivers and owners – will see Hackney taxis adopting a phased approach to zero-emission capable between 2020 and 2025, with drivers only able to get a licence in 2025 if they have a zero-emission cab.

The new standards will see the following changes:

  • 1 January 2020: Hackney carriage taxi drivers will be required to have taxis of at least Euro 4 standard to renew their licence; and Euro 4, Euro 6 or zero-emission capable to receive a new licence.
  • 1 January 2022: Hackney carriage taxi drivers will be required to have at least Euro 4 standard to renew their licence, and zero-emission capable vehicles to receive a new licence.
  • 1 January 2025: Hackney carriage taxi drivers will be required to have zero-emission capable vehicles to renew their licence or receive a new licence.

The standards are based on the study of real world emissions by taxis which show that EURO 5 models perform worse than EURO 4 and EURO 3 models, and are comparable to EURO 2 models.

Currently, Oxford’s Hackney Carriage fleet consists 100 per cent of diesel vehicles – with 51 per cent being older than 15 years, and the six oldest vehicles being 19 years old. Over half of the fleet are Euro standard 3 and lower.

The city council has also approved an amendment to the vehicle age criteria for the licensing of all new Low and Ultra Low Emission Private Hire Vehicles.

Currently, the maximum age for a new vehicle to obtain a licence is less than five years of age. The amendment will continue this requirement, with the addition of a maximum age of seven years for low emission vehicles that produce CO2 emission figures of 110g/km or less.

Both changes were approved by the City Council’s budget meeting on Wednesday 13 February 2019.

Last month, Oxford City Council, and Oxfordshire County Council published updated proposals for a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) in Oxford city centre.

The updated proposals follow 15 months of listening to businesses, residents, transport operators and health experts in Oxfordshire and set a journey to zero transport emissions in Oxford by 2035.

The aim of the ZEZ is to tackle Oxford’s toxic air pollution and protect the health of everyone who lives in, works in and visits the city. It is also expected that the ZEZ will improve air pollution levels across Oxfordshire because the buses and taxis that serve Oxford also serve towns and villages across the county.

Councillor Tom Hayes, Board Member for A Safer and Greener Environment, Oxford City Council said: “Our taxi drivers, their passengers, and the wider city and county need to breathe cleaner air and these taxi licensing changes will make that possible. We welcome our positive relationship with the city's Black Cab drivers and share their excitement about becoming zero-emitting by 2025. As vehicle prices drop, the savings of running electric Black Cabs become more apparent, and our citizens and visitors opt to travel in the cleanest taxis, I'm optimistic that the City Council and the Hackney Carriage trade will accelerate this journey to Zero before 2025.”

Councillor Yvonne Constance, Cabinet Member for Environment, Oxfordshire County Council, said: “This is the first and a very positive step in our joint vision to implement a zero emission zone in phases in central Oxford, which will benefit the whole county. As emissions standards are tightened, taxis, buses and other vehicles will become cleaner, as part of our wider transport plan envisaging innovative and sustainable ways to move around Oxfordshire.”