Council asks for views on licensing policy for hackney carriage and private hire vehicles

16 August 2021

Cheshire West and Chester Council has launched a consultation asking for views on its current licensing policy for vehicles licensed to carry passengers.

In particular the survey would like feedback regarding plans to increase the number of electric or ultra-low emission vehicles being used for this purpose and changes to guidelines relating to taxi drivers with convictions.

Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles are commonly described as "taxis" however, there are differences in the way each of these licensed vehicles can be hired - these differences are explained as part of the consultation.

The Council's current hackney carriage and private hire licensing policy covers all aspects of hackney and private hire licensing including drivers, vehicles and operators.

The Council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said: "I do hope as many people as possible will get involved in this consultation.

"The Council's current policy includes vehicle age criteria that ensures that older, more polluting vehicles are replaced with newer vehicles with lower emissions. At the moment this is a gradual process.

"To meet climate change obligations and help to improve air quality, policy changes are needed to speed up the transition to Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles in the hackney carriage and private hire trades.

"Most of the current fleet of licensed vehicles are diesel and therefore changing to Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles will have a positive impact on air quality.  However, we appreciate this could also require significant investment by the vehicle owners to meet these improved standards.

"We are exploring ways to support the transition, for example, offering financial assistance where funds allow, as well as increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points across the Borough."

Also covered in this consultation are licenced driver convictions.  The Council plays a key role in safeguarding the travelling public by ensuring licensed drivers meet specified criteria.  In July 2020, the Department for Transport published statutory guidance for hackney carriage and private hire standards.

This statutory guidance included an 'Assessment of Previous Convictions', with a recommendation that councils consider adopting this as part of their own policy.  The consultation asks for views on this proposal.

The survey is available on-line from 16 August 2021 and closes on 23 October 2021.

The results of the consultation will be reported to the Council's Licensing Committee on the 16 November 2021.

Any questions, requests for additional information, copies of any of the documents or comments on the consultation can be emailed to: ledo@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.

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