ULEZ compliant taxis for Epsom and Ewell
Taxis in Epsom and Ewell will need to be ULEZ-compliant in order to get a licence despite concerns raised from drivers. All licences will be given, providing cabs meet the standards, on July 1st, 2026.
However, from January, 1st 2025, licences will not normally be renewed for diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 5 standards.
The ULEZ criteria was put to drivers in a consultation by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, with some saying their business would be affected, and one driver saying people may stop going out because of increased taxi fares. The response said: “If you want a ghost of Christmas future take a look at Sutton. Sutton once had small and large nightclubs, a cinema and a range of both independent and chain pubs and restaurants. Epsom isn’t booming, but it is starting to recover and is a great place to go out. It won’t take much to ruin that.”
As a result of the consultation, an additional six months was added to the original timeline, with diesel car licensing planned to change from July 2024, to help drivers “already struggling with the cost of living”.
A meeting of the council’s licensing and planning policy committee on Tuesday (September 26) agreed the changes, and heard from officers that some drivers were already replacing their cars, having held out to see if the ULEZ expansion would actually come in.
The zone was expanded in August, and now comes up to the border with five districts and boroughs in Surrey, of which one is Epsom and Ewell.
Councillor Clive Woodbridge (Residents’ Association, Ewell Village) said he welcomed that more time had been given for vehicles to be replaced, and cited supply chain issues after Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.
He said having spoken to Uber drivers, he understood they had been told their vehicles would have to be electric in the future in order for them to continue to be on the app. He said the biggest change to emissions quality would be moving away from diesel and petrol to electric vehicles. The council would need to provide more electric charging points to achieve these aims, he added.
Cllr Woodbridge said: “I would support this council in doing what it can to accelerate the move towards electric.”
One respondent warned about the impact on Epsom’s “reasonable” nightlife if the cost of new vehicles was passed on to passengers and that people would “go out less or not at all”.
While another responded with concerns about his limousine business, saying their Chrysler limousine was ULEZ compliant, while their Lincoln car was not. They said: “I’m a small business and heavily rely on being able to trade to pay my mortgage, childcare fees and every other bill I have which is quite substantial. If the policy excluded me from trading it would have a detrimental impact on me and my family’s life.
“We are a service in high demand, so it would also have an impact on the public who want to use our service for their special occasions.”
An officers’ report into the policy said they had not been able to find any special exemption for limousines in Transport for London guidelines. They said there wasn’t justification for a blanket exemption for such cars and recommended they be looked at on a case-by-case basis when making a licensing decision.
On the timeline for the changes, officers said: “If the new standards are implemented too quickly it could result in significant hardship for the licensed trade, and if substantial numbers of licence holders leave the trade as a result of too fast an implementation, then this could affect service provisions, ultimately creating a risk to public safety.”
From January 1, 2025 the council will not renew licences for diesel vehicles not meeting or exceeding Euro 5 emission standards, and from From July 1, 2026 licences, including renewals, will only be granted to vehicles which meet the Petrol Euro 4 and Diesel Euro 6 standards, with some exceptions.
Specially adapted vehicles for wheelchairs users will be exempt, and those being used for home to school transport with a county council contract will get a one-year extension to both phases.
The policy was unanimously agreed by the committee, and will go to full council for agreement.
Image Google street view Epsom Station taxis