Sheffield Clean Air Zone: Taxi driver launches petition against controversial charge

A taxi driver with more than 30 years experience and former councillor launched a petition against Sheffield Council’s Clean Air Zone.

Ibrar Hussain, former councillor for Burngreave and cab driver for 34 years, started the petition to highlight concerns about the scheme that would see drivers of the most polluting taxis charged £10 a day to drive in the city centre.

He said the trade would be badly affected and traditional black cabs “finished” in Sheffield if specifications for hackney carriages were not changed.

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In his petition statement he said: “We the licensed drivers are asking the council to urgently start the consultation on hackney carriage vehicle specification policy.

A clean air zone is set to be introduced in Sheffield city centre

“We ask every member of the Sheffield City Council, licensing board and executive cabinet to take immediate action. Furthermore, the licensing service needs to act immediately with this consultation with the licensed vehicle hackney carriage owners as the stakeholders.”

He added that Sheffield had around 610 licensed hackney carriage vehicles and this was declining fast.

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Rather than the proposed emission standard, he asked the council to allow a mixed fleet similar to the Clean Air Zone plans proposed in Leeds.

The petition has so far gathered more than 100 signatures and can be found here.Sheffield Council’s co-operative executive made the historic decision to introduce a Clean Air Zone in a special meeting at the Town Hall this week.

The charging zone will cover the inner ring road and city centre, including Park Square and the A61 / Parkway junction and it will be enforced using automatic number plate recognition cameras.

Taxis and LGVs that do not meet the emission standard will be charged £10 a day and coaches, buses and HGVs will be charged £50 a day to drive in the zone.

Drivers will need to have Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol engines to avoid the charge.

Just under £24 million was given to deliver Sheffield and Rotherham’s Clean Air Plans. Of that, £3.5 million was allocated from the implementation fund, which will be used for setting up the charging zone and road schemes, and £20.4 million from the Clean Air Fund, which will be used to help drivers upgrade.

A consultation focussing on this financial support will start in November.