The council’s licensing committee has relaxed its licencing rules surrounding the types of car that can be registered as a cab or taxi.
It means that Slough’s drivers now have more choice in the type of vehicle they can purchase or use in the job.
The committee approved the removal of minimum sizes for hackney carriage and private hire vehicles that can be licensed earlier this year, as it felt that the current policy was too prescriptive and limiting in terms of the type and size of vehicles that could be licensed.
This now allows drivers to use smaller and more environmentally friendly cars, such as electric or hybrid vehicles; benefiting cab and taxi drivers in terms of flexibility and costs.
The reason behind this move was because there are now a wider range of low emission vehicles (LEV) and ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) on the market, and these tend to be slightly smaller models than those that would normally be licensed.
In turn, to coincide with the council’s Low Emission Strategy, this new policy aims to encourage licence holders to purchase low emission vehicles or electric vehicles for taxi and private hire services.
If drivers make the switch to such a vehicle, they will also be able to benefit from a tax exemption worth £1,550.
This tax break will apply to any new cabs purchased from April this year.
This initiative followed last year’s Autumn Budget that announced zero emission taxis worth over £40,000 will no longer have to pay a vehicle excise duty charge; in the hope to incentivise cabbies to replace their old diesel taxi for a cleaner, greener electric version.
Government findings indicate that if one person switches to a zero emission vehicle, it would rid the country of seven tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
With over 75,000 black cabs operating in England alone, the impact this would have on the environment would be significant.
Councillor Martin Carter, cabinet member for planning and transport, said: “We are delighted to modify licencing rules for taxi and cab drivers, as we are committed to improving air quality in Slough, and in turn improving the health and wellbeing of our residents.”
New applicants and current licence holders interested in finding out about the types of low emission vehicles available the market can find information on LEVs and ULEVs and more via Next Green Car.