BRADFORD Council has appealed to Government to cut its congestion charge for non-compliant taxis following angry protests by drivers in the city.

As it stands, non-compliant taxis and private hire vehicles will have to pay £12.50 a day to enter Bradford’s Clean Air Zone next year.

The Council has requested the fee be dropped to £7. It follows angry protests by drivers who face a potentially costly switch to more efficient vehicles.

The Clean Air Zone aims to bring down dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide, which causes health problems and affects some of Bradford’s most disadvantaged communities worst.

Bradford is one of several districts across the country which has been told to bring in a Clean Air Zone after harmful levels of pollution were found in the district.

Many children in disadvantaged areas where pollution is worst suffer with respiratory problems, which some affected before they have even been born.

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, executive member for Healthy People and Places said the Council wants to “ease the burden on the taxi trade” while bringing down harmful levels of pollution.

She said: “We have been mandated by government to deliver the Clean Air Zone.

"They say we must achieve the reduction in harmful pollution which will benefit everyone’s health, particularly in our most disadvantaged communities.

"Whilst doing that we want to ease the burden on the taxi trade who like many businesses need all the support they can get given the huge impact of Covid-19.

“The £12.50 charge was set before the pandemic and was in line with the standard daily charges proposed across the country.

"However it’s clear to us that the charge needs to be lower. As Clean Air Zones roll out across the country, we have seen that other cities have been allowed by Government to have a lower charge so we’re asking for the same concession for Bradford.

"We’ve made a strong case to government that we need to see that reduction in the charge to non-compliant taxis.

"Our proposal of £7 would include the Government’s own fees which they charge each vehicle. It would make it the lowest daily charge in the UK.

“Meanwhile the emphasis remains on supporting businesses to upgrade to cleaner vehicles, which is ideally what we all want to see.

"We are clear that daily charges should not be seen as a tax and should be set at a level to encourage vehicle owners to upgrade their vehicles to Clean Air Zone standard.

"At the end of the day it’s not a council decision so we have to wait and see what the Government minister decides.”

Last week, millions of pounds worth of grants were opened up to Hackney carriage and private hire drivers in the district to enable them to upgrade their vehicles to meet the Clean Air Zone criteria, with each driver able to access thousands of pounds in support.

This will assist drivers in switching to low-emission vehicles, including to hybrid and electric motors, to bring down pollution in the city and avoid having to pay the daily charge.