Age Limitation of Taxis and Private Hire Cars (Air Quality)

Closed 2 Jun 2017

Opened 21 Apr 2017

Results Updated 28 Feb 2019

A report was submitted to the Regulatory Comittee on 22 October 2017 outlining the results of this consultation and giving recommendations.



You may be aware that in recent months there has been significant media coverage about pollution levels in the UK. The main causes of pollution in towns and cities are Nitrogen Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide (referred to as Nitrogen Oxides), which are produced in the emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles. Air quality in city centres is a major public health concern. Diesel produces Nitrogen Oxides and minute ‘particulates’ that are harmful to health. Although invisible to the naked eye, this form of pollution is a major public health concern, and some of the people who are most affected by it are motorists who spend long hours behind the wheel, such as taxi and private hire drivers.
The licensing authority for the City of Edinburgh (‘the Council’) is considering introducing an age limit for its licensed taxis and Private Hire Car (PHCs).
This measure should not only improve vehicle standards, but also local air quality through a reduction in exhaust emissions from licensed hire cars.
In 2016, for example, 21% of applications for taxi/PHC vehicle licences received by the Council were for brand new vehicles.

Why We Are Consulting

In response to a motion submitted by a councillor and a subsequent feasibility report, the City of Edinburgh Council's Regulatory Committee:
1) Agreed in principle that conditions of licences will be altered to improve the air quality in the city by reducing emissions from taxis and private hire cars (PHCs), and to consult on options to achieve that by either:
a) introducing an age limitation in respect of taxis and private hire cars; or
b) incrementally increasing the minimum emissions standards for the engines in these vehicles, which would improve the emissions standards.

What Happens Next

The results of this consultation were collated and presented to the Regulatory Committee on 16 March 2018. The Committee agreed to agreed to amend its policy and licensing conditions with respect to the age of licensed vehicles in Edinburgh’s Taxi and Private Hire Car (‘PHC’) fleet. 

The Regulatory Committee further agreed on 7 May 2018 that with effect from 1 May 2018 no Taxi or PHC will be accepted as a new vehicle for licensing or as a replacement vehicle for an existing licence unless it is either Euro 5 or 6 emissions standard.


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