Agenda item

Request for Exemption to Displaying an External Plate on a Licensed Vehicle (Agenda item 6)

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.

Minutes:

This item was discussed following agenda item 7.

 

The Licensing Officer presented the report that had been a result of a letter sent by Mr Rudling of Peter Rudling Travel who had asked for the requirement of displaying an identification plate on the rear of a private hire vehicle to be exempt.

 

The current Private Hire Vehicle Licence Conditions approved by the Council in April 2007, stated that under the heading ‘Identification Plate’, the yellow plate which identified the vehicle as a Private Hire Vehicle and required to be exhibited in a Private Hire Vehicle by virtue of Section 48 (6)(a) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, shall be securely fixed to the rear of the vehicle in a conspicuous position and in such a manner as to be able to be removed by an authorised officer of the Council or a police constable.  Currently no previous exemption has been given by Breckland Council from displaying a rear identification plate.

 

Various products had been considered and a proposal for a less obtrusive licensing plate, the size of a road fund licence, had been identified and highlighted at Appendix D of the report.

 

Other Councils across the country had allowed such an exemption but had a list of executive vehicles or a specific policy in place prior to an exemption being applied.  A proposed policy had been attached at Appendix C of the report for Members consideration.

 

In response to a question as to whether the vehicles listed on the policy was exhaustive.  The applicant, Mr Rudling, said that he would prefer not to have a definitive list as vehicles were likely to change.

 

Cllr Armes asked if the new disc presented was considered suitable for the visually impaired.  The Licensing Officer advised that the disc being proposed was slightly bigger than pictured and the type face could be changed.  Mr Rudling stated that he had never known anyone to walk to the rear of the car to look at the plate.  Private Hire Vehicles were very different to Hackney Carriage Vehicles as fares were all pre-booked.  He highlighted some examples of his bookings which included wedding hire and pointed out that it was not good for business when a bride turned up at a church in a car that resembled a taxi cab.

 

The four points listed at Appendix C were highlighted.

 

Cllr Askew had no objections to the new disc but asked if it was possible to have a sticker of the same size displayed on the rear window screen.

 

Cllr Armes thought this to be a good idea and proposed the aforementioned suggestion which was accordingly seconded.  It was further agreed that any future requests for such licence plates be dealt with at officer level.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(1)         all vehicles being operated by a company predominately carrying out chauffer hire be exempt from displaying the identification plate on the rear of any licensed vehicle owned by the company;

 

(2)         the new windscreen identification plate as highlighted at Appendix D of the report be approved; subject to:

 

a)           the new windscreen identification plate being displayed in both the front and rear windscreens of the said licensed vehicles; and

 

b)           a bold colour and appropriate font be used on the new windscreen identification plates to assist the visually impaired;

 

(3)         the policy for exemption to the displaying of a rear identification plate be approved; and

 

(4)         any future requests for new licence plates be dealt with at Officer level.

 

Supporting documents: