All licensed taxis in Reading will be ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) by 2028 if new council plans are approved.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) wants to gradually remove older polluting vehicles from its black cab fleet.

The policy is one of several Reading Borough Council (RBC) is introducing as part of an effort to a carbon neutral town by 2030.

There are currently zero ULEVs and electric vehicles on the Reading hackney carriage fleet.

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Councillor Tony Page, Reading’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “Road transport is the largest source of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution.

“The council is proposing a package of measures which – over a number of years – will reduce and eventually remove altogether the most polluting black cabs on Reading’s roads.

“At the same time we are offering incentives in the form of initially reduced licence fees for the cleanest vehicles.

“This is another example of the council backing up its declaration of a climate emergency with action.”

Taxis will have to be replaced within 12-15 years unless they are 100 per cent electric vehicles – which will have a 20-year limit.

171 out of 216 Hackney Carriages on the Reading fleet are currently Euro 4 vehicles and owners would have until August 2023 to upgrade to cleaner vehicles if the plans are approved.

The plans will be voted on next week at Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) licensing applications committee on Wednesday, October 23 at 5pm.

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RBC currently charges a reduced fee of £145 per year to licence a 100 per centelectric vehicle, compared to £346 for a 100 per cent petrol/diesel vehicle but this has not been taken up.

The council is now proposing new incentives such as:

–          A 25 per cent reduction in the vehicle fee for all ULEVs (emitting a maximum of 50g/km of CO2) from April 2020 and a 50 per cent reduction for electric vehicles
–          A free vehicle licence fee for October 2021 to October 2022 for ULEV or 100 per cent electric vehicles which have never been on the Reading fleet before
An ULEV is currently defined as a vehicle that emits less than 75 g/km of CO2 from the tailpipe.

The definition of ULEV will be reduced to 50g/km of CO2 from the tailpipe from 2021.

These vehicles will be either 100 per cent electric or a hybrid model which uses electric in conjunction with either a diesel or petrol engine.

The Reading Taxi Association and the Reading Cab Drivers Association have both been consulted on the proposed changes.