Q&A: Consultation on Proposed Taxi and Private Hire Emissions Policy.

Q: What are the key reasons for introducing new emissions standards for taxis and licenced vehicles in Epsom & Ewell?

A: The key reasons are as follows:

To improve air quality and the health of our residents:

  • This is a positive step in the borough in terms of reducing air pollution and helping to improve the health of residents of Epsom & Ewell.
  • Air pollution is associated with several adverse health impacts. It is recognised as a contributing factor to the onset of heart disease and cancer.

To support Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s Climate Change Action Plan:

  • The proposal supports Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s commitment to act on climate change.
  • On 23 July 2019 the council committed to tackling Climate Change and addressing Epsom & Ewell Borough Council carbon emissions.
  • The council’s Climate Change Action Plan can be found on the Epsom & Ewell Borough Council website by searching for ‘Climate Change Action Plan’.

Q: What is the plan to lower emissions of licensed vehicles in Epsom & Ewell?

A: The plan to lower emissions is as follows:

  • Epsom & Ewell Borough Council will phase in a requirement that all licensed private hire and hackney carriages meet or exceed the same emissions standards as the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone.
  • The phasing would begin in January 2024 and be complete by 1 July 2025.
  • From July 2025 all licensed private hire and hackney carriages would meet or exceed the same emissions standards as the TFL ULEZ.

Q: Why is the ULEZ standard being proposed as the standard for Taxi and Private Hire emissions?

A: We are proposing introducing the ULEZ standard for our licensed vehicles and taxis for the following reasons:

  • It is very common for boroughs and districts to have maximum age or emissions restrictions on their licensed vehicles. Currently EBBC are a bit of an outlier by having none. Taking the step to prevent the most polluting vehicles from being licensed would bring Epsom & Ewell in line with other councils.
  • Although no other council has chosen the ULEZ standard for their licensed vehicles, some councils have set higher standards:
    • Transport For London requires that all private hire vehicles licensed for the first time must be zero emission capable (ZEC) and meet the Euro 6 emissions standard
    • Elmbridge requires that new vehicles must be Euro 6 standard.
  • The ULEZ specifically targets the vehicle emissions that are most harmful to human health: nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM): diesel-cars-and-ulez). It would also remove the older most polluting license vehicles (Petrol cars that meet the ULEZ standards are generally those first registered with the DVLA after 2005, Diesel cars that meet the standards are generally those first registered with the DVLA after September 2015 – diesel emissions are more harmful, hence the different standard from petrol vehicles).
  • Another advantage of setting the ULEZ standard is that is well advertised and easily understood. Transport for London an online vehicle check on their website so the licensed trade can easily check whether their vehicle meets the standard.

Q: Is the ULEZ standard going to be introduced for private vehicles?

A: This consultation is for licensed taxis and hackney carriages only. There are no plans to introduce the ULEZ for private vehicles.

Q: What is a hackney carriage?

A: A hackney carriage is a taxi with a meter which is licenced to collect passengers from a taxi rank and is available to be hailed in the street.

Q: If the requirement that hackney cabs are purpose-built is removed, how will people be able to identify the new hackney carriages?

A: People will be able to identify hackney carriages by an illuminated roof box that says: ‘Taxi - licensed by Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’.

Q: Will all hackney carriages continue to be wheelchair accessible?

A: The council will allow up to 5 electric hackney carriages to be licensed that will be exempt from the requirement to be wheelchair accessible. There are currently around 37 hackney carriages which would mean that approximately 32 hackney carriages would still be wheelchair accessible.

Q: Will these changes mean that hackney carriage fare prices in Epsom & Ewell will increase?

A: There are no additional increases to the fare chart planned above the usual annual increases which are due to inflation.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council wants to hear what the licensed trade, residents and local organisations think about the proposals. A 6-week public consultation runs from 19 June until 30 July 2023. Details of the proposal, including the timescale for implementation, can be viewed in the Documents section on the Consultations webpage. Hard copies of the draft policy can be viewed at the Town Hall.

To give feedback on the proposed licensed vehicle emissions policy please email: licensing@epsom-ewell.gov.uk or write to the Licensing Team, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, Town Hall, The Parade, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5BY