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The lower a taxi’s emissions the longer it can be used in Redditch Borough, under new rules to incentivise green transport.

In a first for Worcestershire, a vehicle’s environmental performance now determines not only whether it can be registered as a taxi in Redditch, but also its maximum operational age.

Fully electric taxis may now remain licensed in the borough until they are 15 years old, Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) until they are 13, vehicles that meet Euro 4 (petrol) and Euro 6 (diesel) emissions standards up to the age of 11, and others up to ten years – with two more years added to these limits if the vehicle is wheelchair accessible.

The scheme replaces and increases a blanket nine-year maximum operational age for all taxis, or 12 if wheelchair accessible, regardless of type.

Whatever their age all licensed taxis in Redditch must pass twice-yearly safety inspections, and any random spot checks, to continue to be licensed.

The new categories also determine the minimum emissions standards and maximum age for vehicles to be newly licensed as taxis. That’s now 8 years old for electrics and hybrids, 7 for ULEVs, and 6 years old for Euro 4- and 6-standard vehicles. Vehicles that do not meet those emissions standards can no longer become licensed.

Furthermore vehicles in the fully electric category only have been made exempt from the requirement for all additional new taxis to be wheelchair accessible vehicles - that’s where the new taxi would add to the total number of taxis in Redditch.

The changes were agreed as part of the council’s new Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy at Redditch Borough Council’s Licensing Committee meeting on Monday March 21, and while that full policy will come into effect on 1st September, the new age limits apply now.

Head of Worcestershire Regulatory Services, which provides licensing services to the council, Simon Wilkes, said: “This licensing policy provides incentives for greener taxis to cut pollution. And as well as supporting environmental objectives on emissions, it also extends how long taxis can be used for, recognising and supporting people who choose to invest in lower-emission and wheelchair-accessible vehicles, which was something that was raised by the trade during the consultation over this policy.”

Full information on the policy will be available on the minutes of the March 21 Licensing Committee in due course.