Revised Taxi Policy and Procedures
Report of Craig Fowler – Environmental Health & Licensing Manager.
Josie Hoven, the Licensing Team Leader provided Members with a detailed overview of the report.
Members were being asked to review the responses to the revised Taxi Policy following a public consultation that was held between 26 July and 5 September 2021 and recommend the final revised version to Full Council for adoption, for implementation on 3 January 2022.
It was noted that all taxi and private hire licence holders and consultees were contacted via email or post and the consultation was also available on the Council’s website.
Only two responses had been received.
Councillor Morton supported the revised Policy but remained disappointed that the Policy had not been able to include standards in respect of reducing exhaust emissions and the vehicle age policy that was included in 2019 as he felt this would help in terms of climate change. He was pleased to hear; however, that this would be reviewed at a later date alongside the Council’s Sustainability Strategy to help tackle climate change.
The Chairman advised that Officers were very aware of these valid concerns, but during these past 18 months, the pandemic had greatly affected drivers in terms of their business and therefore the Council was working with them to ensure that nothing was too restrictive that would have a detrimental effect on their livelihoods.
Councillor Dowling drew attention two points raised in the consultation in respect of tinted windows and asked if this had been resolved. Members were informed that this had not been included but would be reviewed in the vehicle specification next year. The current window tint policy was there for public safety, but as expected the vehicle specifications had changed a great deal since 2007 and therefore would be kept under review.
Councillor Dowling also asked about language issues and if the regulations could be understood by all drivers and whether this had caused any issues in the past. Members were informed that this had been raised as a recommendation by the Department for Transport (DfT) but Breckland Council had not experienced any issues on this matter but again this would be kept under review. Also, every driver was interviewed by the Licensing Team in the first instance to go through the relevant documentation and policies and a licence would not be issued if the Team had any language concerns.
In response to a further concern, the Licensing Team Leader explained that enhanced DBS checks were carried out to mitigate any possible imitation issues.
Councillor Ashby had noticed that only two consultation responses had been received and according to the report all taxi and private hire licence holders and consultees had been contacted and suggested to him that the document had probably been met with much agreement, and hence why the number of responses had been so low.
Members were informed that no positive responses had been received but this was quite common in the taxi trade. Meetings had also been held and information was probably spread by word of mouth.
Councillor Kiddell, ... view the full minutes text for item 38