Amendment to the Rules, Regulations and Procedures for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing
Councillor Joyce Plummer, Portfolio Holder Resources, provided a report seeking approval for an amendment to the Rules, Regulations and Procedures for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing, so as to extend the issue of a 6 month licence plate to vehicles up to the age of 10 years old.
Councillor Plummer indicated that, although there were no specific funding implications for the Licensing Service, there might be a loss of around £8,000 for the Vehicle Maintenance Unit, due to the reduction in the frequency of vehicle tests for vehicles over the age of 7 years. Councillor Munsif Dad commented that the reductions in testing would be welcomed by the taxi trade. He agreed that it was important that those taxis working in Hyndburn should continue to be licensed in the Borough for enforcement purposes.
Approval of the report was not deemed a key decision.
Reasons for Decision
The Council are responsible for setting the vehicle testing frequency for hackney carriage and private hire vehicles, which in turn determines the period of the licence that is issued. Currently vehicles under the age of 2 years are tested annually and issued with a 12 month licence. Vehicles between the age of 2 years and 7 years are tested every 6 months and issued with a 6 month licence and vehicles over the age of 7 years are tested every 4 months and issued with a 4 month licence. A vehicle cannot remain licensed beyond the age of 15 years.
Recently, when carrying out impromptu roadside inspections of licensed vehicles in conjunction with the police and officers from DVSA it has been noted that the standards of the vehicles being checked have risen and that less improvement notices are being issued. The hackney carriage and private hire proprietors have taken on board guidance from licensing officers and have co-operated with them to ensure that the standards are raised.
Officers now believe that the 6 month licence could be extended to include vehicles up to the age of 10 years. This is because of the improvements as set out above and because officers are now carrying out more frequent roadside inspections which would highlight any potential issues between tests. Blackburn Council which is our closest neighbour issues licences for 6 months and if Hyndburn do not consider doing the same, it is possible that vehicles will be taken to Blackburn to get a 6 month licence and then come back into Hyndburn to work. If this were to happen we would have no authority over the standard of the vehicles.
Alternative Options considered and Reasons for Rejection
The Council could take no action and continue with the currentpolicy and frequency of testing, however officers do not feel that there would be any additional benefit to public safety and in fact there could be a detrimental effect to public safety as owners migrate to neighbouring authorities to have vehicles tested and licensed then come back into this area to work leaving the Council with no control over the safety and comfort of the vehicles.
Resolved - That Cabinet approves the amendment to the Rules, Regulations and Procedures for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing as set out in the report.
- Licensing Report, item 174. PDF 92 KB
- Appendix 1 - Customer First Analysis - Licensing, item 174. PDF 178 KB