TAXI owners and drivers have issued a plea to the council leader to avoid hundreds of taxis being put off the road within weeks.

Glasgow Taxis estimates 350 vehicles will be lost at the end of an extension to comply with the Low Emission Zone on June 1.

The organisation said it agrees with the aims of the LEZ but said it would be “folly” to allow so many small businesses to fail.

READ NEXT: Glasgow MSP wants clubs docked points for fans disorder

The council meanwhile said it has supported the taxi trade throughout the stages of the LEZ implementation.

Dougie McPherson, Glasgow Taxis chairman, put forward the proposal that “any remaining taxi operators not yet compliant with the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) to be given the opportunity to offset emissions until such point as they become fully compliant”.

He said it was expected the majority would be compliant by the end of the year.

The letter has also gone to all the city councillors.

It states: “As you are aware, Glasgow is set to lose around 350 public hire operators on June 1, 2024, with the application of the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) – each one being a small Glasgow business.

“Given the huge steps taken by the taxi trade in Glasgow in recent years, we believe it would be folly for the City Council to allow these businesses and the many livelihoods they support to simply disappear overnight in the context of actual improvement to air quality in the City Centre.” 

READ NEXT: Rehab key to breaking cycle of addiction and crime 

The taxi organisation makes an “ask” of the council.

It states: “The vast majority of the taxi operators in Glasgow support the Council’s commitment to improving air quality. 

“Most operators now have an identified pathway to full LEZ compliance but, for many, it will simply not be achievable over the next 2 weeks.

“Glasgow Taxis asks that Glasgow City Council uses the powers available to allow those taxi operators to continue to trade beyond 1 June 2024, and moreover to continue to serve the needs of the City, as the vehicles and solutions become available over the coming year – and, where deemed necessary, to allow such small businesses to offset their emissions as per many other larger UK and international companies operating in Glasgow.”

A council spokesperson said: “Glasgow’s city centre Low Emission Zone has been introduced to tackle unacceptably high levels of the harmful pollutant nitrogen dioxide.

“Unlike carbon emissions, this air pollutant, which particularly affects the most vulnerable in society such as the very young and the elderly, cannot be offset.

“Glasgow’s LEZ has been well publicised and had an extensive lead-in time. And at every stage since the intention to introduce a scheme was agreed, we have supported the taxi sector move toward compliance.

"We have consistently encouraged eligible operators to take advantage of Scottish Government funding toward cleaner, new vehicles, or to retrofit existing vehicles - with £2.4m paid in retrofit grants since 2019 for taxis in our region.  We also amended licensing conditions to expand the options available to operators of taxis which could not be retrofitted due to vehicle age.

“Eligible operators were also granted an exemption from the scheme’s first year of operation, and we will show further flexibilities beyond this point, but only for operators who can show they are actively taking steps to meet the cleaner LEZ standards.

“To equitably balance the health and environmental benefits of Glasgow’s LEZ, whilst continuing to support taxi operators, where an exemption is extended beyond the end of May, it will be for the shortest period possible.”