Go-slow protests over emissions clampdown to cause “chaos”, taxi drivers have warned

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Taxi drivers say planned industrial action will cause “chaos” in Wakefield, Pontefract and Castleford unless the council re-thinks its tough stance on emissions.

Wakefield Council recently agreed to introduce the most stringent pollution controls within Government guidelines by 2020, but drivers say it would force more than 1,100 vehicles off the roads - 90 per cent of the district’s fleet.

More than 700 drivers represented by the Wakefield District Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Association have now agreed for three days of industrial action in which cab drivers will deliberately drive at low speeds to cause traffic problems.

The drivers say they will carry out the action in March, unless the council reconsiders its position.

Co-chairman of the group, Wajid Ali said: “It will happen unless the council agree to get around the table to provide a sensible solution. We are giving them a chance, and if they do not do that, Wakefield and all the other towns in the district will be grid locked.

“We won’t let any cars in or out of the towns and city.”

The drivers are asking for a greater phasing period and allow them to buy cars with cleaner emissions.

But the council’s solicitor Bernadette Livesey said they were “disappointed” to hear about the planned action through the Wakefield Express, adding: “All taxi drivers were asked to take part in a consultation, which ran for eight weeks, about the new emission standards.

“The licensing committee has given all taxi drivers a two-year grace period to ensure their vehicles meet the new standards, set to help improve the air quality in the district.”