Agenda item

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy Amendments

Report by the Public Protection Manager (attached).


The Committee considered a report on Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy Amendments (circulated previously) by the Public Protection manager.


The Public Protection manager introduced Lee Staples, Environmental Health and Licensing Practitioner to the meeting who gave the following update to the Committee:


·         Following the Licensing and Community Safety Committee meeting held on 8 March 2022 a community consultation was run online from 16 March to 11 May 2022 seeking comments on the proposed policy amendments.

·         The responses received were very constructive and were considered very carefully.  Where practicable amendments were formulated because of comments received.

·         The following amendments have been made:

Ø  Vehicle standards in particular were being looked at with the licenced vehicle age criteria (vehicle standards), to better align to the Council’s corporate priority around protecting the environment;

Ø  It was decided not to make CCTV in vehicles mandatory but to clarify the standards for systems that might be installed so had introduced technical specifications and system requirements for any new CCTV systems fitted within licenced vehicles.  Those vehicles who had already had CCTV installed were not being asked to have the system removed;

Ø  Introduction of day-to-day maintenance logging checks undertaken daily and proprietors to keep logs of who was driving and when;

Ø  Removal of sun strip visors on private hire vehicles– which was to be replaced with door signage; and

Ø  Drivers to attend an interview when a complaint was received.  To be undertaken in a timely manner.

·         52 responses were received from the public with some very lengthy comments. 

·         As a result of considering the comments received further changes were made to the amendments of the policy such as:

Ø  Retaining the current upper age limit for plating a new licenced vehicle at 5 years of age as opposed to the 3 years as proposed, but linking this to a requirement for these vehicles to also be Euro 6 emission standard or above; 

Ø  The emphasis would be on the emissions of the vehicle in line with the Corporate environmental priority;

Ø  Cost considerations was the biggest concern amongst drivers completing the survey especially following on from loss of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic and more recently the high inflation costs;

Ø  A draft best practice guide recently released by Central Government indicated that they did not favour an age based policy;

Ø  This was felt to be a proportionate response to the information received;

Ø  Likewise, the proposal to introduce an upper age limit for vehicle renewal was amended to correspond to emission limits as opposed to vehicle age, specifically Euro 6 emissions standard.    To allow for older vehicles currently licenced with the Local Authority a built in delay to updating vehicles to Euro 6 emission standards was being proposed to January 2026, to give those drivers time to purchase newer vehicles;

Ø  Wheelchair accessible vehicles were to be allowed a lower emission standard as it was accepted it was more expensive to buy those types of vehicles and certainly more expensive to maintain and run as they tended to be larger vehicles.


·         Appendix B of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing policy had been fully revised.  This dealt with vehicles presenting for inspection and the report of findings of an inspection.

·         The wording for Private Hire Vehicles had been amended to allow for “Advance booking only” to be put on the vehicle doors incorporated with company branding. 

·         The vehicle write-offs wording had been amended.  In particular, around the documentation required to prove the vehicle was safe.

·         Additional notification written into the policy whereby a driver must inform us if they were under investigation by the Police.  It could be a driver was under investigation and an arrest would not be made until sometime down the line.


In response to questions, the Licensing Practitioner and Public Protection Manager gave the following responses:

·         There was regular communication with the taxi trade by way of a newsletter, which explained changes and highlighted what this meant for the drivers.

·         The database of taxi/private hire driver email addresses was currently around 97% and the Licensing Team was exploring the ability to send text messages prior to the new policy coming into effect, which would require the provision of an email.

·         The Euro standards were the standards vehicles were manufactured to as they were produced in Europe but it was expected the British Government would follow on with those standards.

·         The Policy set out the types of write offs that would be allowed for licensing purposes, if a vehicle had previously sustained any damage other than bodywork damage a license would be refused.  Setting this out in the policy gave us the ability to deal with any vehicles presenting with write off history.


The Public Protection manager asked the Committee to consider a further proposal.  With a successful bid to the Safer Streets fund the Council were now able to offer drivers a free place on a Safeguarding training session.  Places were available to be booked throughout the months of October, November and December 2022. It was being proposed that all existing licensed drivers book a place on one of these sessions.  All existing drivers should be booked on a course session by January 2023.




(a)  The representations from the public consultation be noted;

(b)  The further amendments be approved as set out in Appendix A;

(c)  That all licensed taxi and private hire drivers to have undertaken or to have booked onto the Child Sexual Exploitation and Safeguarding training provided by Karen Anderson prior to the 1st January 2023; and


RECOMMENDED that the revised policy be approved at a future Strategy and Resources committee.

Supporting documents: