ENVIRONMENT chiefs with Liverpool City Council are seeking the views of cab drivers about plans to do away with older, dirty diesel engines in hackney carriages.
Under the proposal, the ‘retro-fitted’ carriages with older diesel engines would be phased out. Retro-fitting means that the vehicle’s engine is removed and replaced with an earlier model. The older engines are cheaper to run but they also pump out higher levels of harmful Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) into the atmosphere.
The city council currently licences more than 1,400 hackney carriages in Liverpool, several hundred of which have been retro-fitted with older diesel engines.
If the plan goes ahead, drivers will be given three months to inform the council that they have a retro-fitted cab. Those who do will be given a further five year grace period before the council refuses to licence such vehicles.
Any driver failing to notify the council of a retro-fitted engine could have their licence suspended and any new applications for a licence automatically refused.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Air Quality, Cllr James Noakes, said: “Improving air quality in our city is a priority for the council and its partners. Some stretches of the city’s roads exceed the accepted levels of NO2 emissions. hackney carriages with older engines are a cause of this type of pollution and we have set ourselves strict targets to see a reduction in these potentially harmful emissions.”
Nitrogen Dioxide emissions have been linked with a range of respiratory problems. Breathing in higher than accepted levels can aggravate conditions such as asthma, particularly in children and older people.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has set up a multi-agency task force which ls considering a range of measures to reduce the levels of NO2 and other pollutants in the atmosphere.
As well as phasing out retro-fitting engines, the group is looking at plans for more electric vehicle charging points, a campaign to encourage more people to walk or cycle for shorter journeys and a plan to reduce traffic congestion.
Cllr Noakes added: “If we want our city to have clean and clearer air for future generations then doing nothing simply isn’t an option. The plans are still at an early stage but before we move forward we want to know what members of the hackney carriage trade think about them.
“Ultimately any decision about improving air quality through removing retro-fitted engines would be taken by the council’s cabinet. We need to get everyone’s views on this issue so we can make an informed decision. We are writing to all hackney carriage drivers who are licensed in the city and I would urge them to fill in the survey and give us their views.”
Hackney carriage drivers have until Sunday 30 September to complete the survey.
For more information on air quality in Liverpool, click here.