Writing to Bradford Council and the Minister for Environment Affairs, Bradford East MP, Imran Hussain has demanded council leaders and Ministers extend support to mitigate the disproportionate impact on taxi drivers and small businesses.
In his letters, Imran has repeated the concerns he has been raising in meetings with local leaders over recent months around the Government’s decision to direct Bradford Council to implement a Clean Air Zone aimed at reducing harmful vehicle emissions and improving air quality throughout the Bradford District, and has pressed the Government to make additional support available to protect local small businesses and private-hire/taxi drivers from being disproportionately impacted when the Clean Air Zone charging begins.
As well as support for local small businesses and private-hire/taxi drivers more broadly, Imran has also highlighted the difficulties that will be faced by those drivers that live within the Clean Air Zone but work outside the Bradford District, particularly private-hire/taxi drivers who work and are licensed in Leeds, Kirklees, Calderdale, and Wakefield.
Under the current Clean Air Zone charging and support schemes, these drivers will still be charged for passing through the Bradford Clean Air Zone, even when they are not working in Bradford and their vehicles meet the emissions standards applied in other areas, and they are also blocked from support to upgrade their vehicles to meet Bradford’s standards.
Speaking on the need to rethink support for taxi drivers and small businesses, Imran said:
“We absolutely need to improve air quality in Bradford to protect the health of people living here and protect them, particularly children, from harmful vehicle emissions, but any plan to lower emissions and increase standards must be fair and must come with sufficient support for those who will be disproportionately impacted by the implementation of the Clean Air Zone.
“Whilst personal vehicles are unaffected by the Clean Air Zone charge and exemptions are in place for many groups, as I’ve repeatedly made clear, the support available is still far too limited, and fails to take into account the impact that the Clean Air Zone charge will have on taxi drivers given the soaring cost of living crisis.
“In addition, there are also still people who get no support, such as taxi drivers living in Bradford but working elsewhere in West Yorkshire, who must still pay the Clean Air Zone charge just because they have to pass through it to get to work, making the system deeply unfair to an already underrepresented and disadvantaged group.
“I’ve therefore written to both the Government Minister in charge of directing Bradford to implement the Clean Air Zone, and to the Leader of Bradford Council to urge them to look at extending the support and exemptions, and protect those who will be disproportionately impacted.”