Rule change could mean electric vehicles as taxis on the streets of Angus

© DC Thomson

Taxi drivers have grown frustrated at antiquated rules in Angus which have effectively banned them using electric vehicles.

Angus Council’s current vehicle inspection checklist requires that licensed vehicles must have an engine size of at least 1.6 litres.

The rule was in place to make sure that vehicles were capable of carrying a driver, four passengers and luggage.

The council has now acknowledged that technological advances have meant that smaller engines are now capable of transporting this weight.

A report being brought to the council’s civic licencing committee proposes dropping this rule which will open the possibility of electric and hybrid vehicles being used by the trade in Angus.

It states: “Angus Council’s vehicle inspection checklist applied to taxi and private hire vehicle licences specify that to be licensed a vehicle must have an engine classification of not less than 1600cc.

“It is recognised that technological advances have meant that vehicle engines are more efficient and that smaller engines are now able to adequately power vehicles capable of transporting the driver and four or more passengers and with the required luggage space.

“In addition, it is acknowledged that removing the engine capacity requirement (whilst retaining passenger number and luggage capacity requirements) will pave the way for the introduction of hybrid and electric vehicles in Angus and permit the licensing of vehicles with smaller engines and less harmful emissions.”

It adds that the move has been in response to concerns raised by drivers that they have been forced to purchase vehicles not as environmentally friendly as they would wish.

It adds: “Concern has been expressed that delays in implementing changes to the council’s vehicle inspection checklist in respect of this particular issue is prejudicing both the trade and the environment in that operators are being forced to replace vehicles with vehicles that are not as environmentally friendly and has higher emissions than the vehicle they would wish to put on.”

Meanwhile, Angus Council has approached garages to see if the local fleet of taxis and private hire vehicles can be inspected in Angus instead of Dundee.

All vehicles licensed as taxis and private hire cars must pass a vehicle inspection test prior to being licensed, and annually thereafter, to ensure that they meet required standards.

Testing was previously carried out by Tayside Police at the Forfar police station garage.

When this closed in April 2015 an agreement was reached with Dundee City Council that testing would be carried out at their environmental department in the city’s Clepington Road.

At the time the move attracted criticism from some drivers that it would mean more travelling time to get their vehicle inspected.

A consultation exercise carried out by the council with the trade earlier this year noted the arrangement with Dundee had been satisfactory but that there was still a desire to have the inspections carried out in Angus.

Since the survey all Angus MOT garages have been written to and invited to express an interest in providing the service. A closing date for responses has been fixed for August 31.