Decision details

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire MOTs and Garage Tests. Temporary derogation to Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2016, due to implications of Covid-19.

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

A temporary amendment is sought to North Devon Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2016, due to the impact of Covid-19.
The current policy cites that those persons making an application for a hackney carriage or private hire proprietor’s licence should accompany this with a valid MOT. It is also the positon that a valid MOT must be in place for the duration of a licence.
In addition to an MOT, both hackney carriage and private hire vehicles must be garage tested once a year until they are 6 years old and twice per year thereafter, by an authorised MOT examiner at an MOT station.
Sections 3.1, 3.8, 7.10, 18.1, and 18.2 of the Council’s policy refer to the above, for which a temporary derogation is proposed. The following text is suggested to be placed on the Council’s website:
MOTs for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles
The Department for Transport has released guidance in relation to vehicle MOTs. From 30 March 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months, and lorries, buses, and trailers for 3 months. This is being done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
You will be aware that the Council does not have a nominated MOT testing station, any authorised MOT station can be used. The Government has not taken a decision to close MOT stations, garages or repair shops due to the risks posed by vehicles continuing to be used. As such, if appropriate testing stations remain open, then taxis and private hire vehicles should remain in possession of a current MOT.
We are mindful that the current situation is unprecedented, and as such if issues arise in gaining tests, we would wish to further note, that vehicles must be in a roadworthy condition for the exemption to be valid. Therefore it is just as important now as it has always been, that drivers ensure that the vehicle they are using is FULLY compliant with the law and that any identifiable defects such as blown bulbs, defective tyres etc. are repaired. If you are not able to have the vehicle repaired so that it is in a roadworthy condition, it must be withdrawn from service.
Hackney carriage and private hire vehicle inspections
The Council’s policy indicates that a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle shall be tested once per year until it is 6 years old, and thereafter twice per year, at six monthly intervals. The test must be carried out by an authorised MOT examiner at an approved MOT testing station, and conducted against the prescribed inspection checklist. This is in addition to an MOT, which for Hackney Carriages is required at 1 year old and thereafter for taxis and at 3 years old and thereafter for private hire vehicles.
Due to fact that garages are not being required to close, the same principles will apply in that if a test can still be undertaken, it should be completed. However if a situation arises whereby garage tests are unable to be undertaken, the same extension of time as for MOT test periods (six months) will also be applied to garage tests

Decision:

The guidance issued by the Department for Transport in respect of MOT tests creates a new situation in respect of MOT periods.
Due to Covid-19; the above extension on MOT periods; and the fact that garages undertaking MOTs and garage tests may be compromised in forthcoming weeks, there needs to be clarity surrounding whether this new extension applies. Also the policy needs to build in flexibility in case of garages closing due to absenteeism.
Covid-19 is impacting the UK at an unprecedented rate, and the usual systems available to implement policy changes via Licensing and Community Safety Committee, Strategy and Resources Committee and Full Council are not expedient. Given the circumstances many of these meetings are compromised due to social distancing precautions being now in place.

Alternative options considered:

Option 1 - As detailed above
Option 2 - none
Option 3 -none

Publication date: 20/05/2020

Date of decision: 27/03/2020