New drive to stop taxis polluting Birmingham city centre

The city’s licensing chief Barbara Dring calls on taxi trade to shut off engines in a bid to help the city meet its clean air targets.

Taxis drivers who leave the engine running and pumping out pollution while waiting in city centre ranks are to be targeted by a new campaign.

The city’s licensing chief Barbara Dring has called on the taxi trade to make an effort to shut off engines in a bid to help the city meet its clean air targets.

But she has admitted it will be difficult to enforce such a measure with fines or bans and instead hopes drivers will turn off their engines voluntarily if prompted by warning signs.

It is estimated that 520 people in Birmingham a year die prematurely as a result of poor air quality and the council has been warned it faces a £60 million fine if it does not tackle pollution.

Measures already being looked at include a city centre Clean Air Zone in which high-polluting lorries, vans and buses will be charged, and controversial new restrictions to reduce the age of licensed taxis and minicabs – getting cleaner and greener vehicles on the roads.

Taxi drivers groups are up in arms over the plans, to be introduced in December. to replace the age limit from 14 years to a new emissions test which more than 500 cars would fail.

Now licensing chiefs are also looking at warning signs in lay-bys, taxi ranks and outside schools to get waiting cars to stop idling.

Cllr Dring (Lab, Oscott) said: “Taxis are among the worst for emissions when they stand and have their engines running.

“We are in talks with regard to the trade clean air act and this is one of the things we will be addressing.

“We have the right to ask any car to turn off their engine while stationary and we are looking to enforce this especially around New Street Station.”

She highlighted Sundridge Primary School in Kingstanding which has put up warning signs for waiting parents. “This is something which could be done across the city.”

And suggested that New Street Station, where taxis spend a long time waiting, could provide a warm waiting area for drivers to reduce the temptation to keep engines running in the winter.

source: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/

Scarborough Taxi Driver’s Question MOT Changes

Taxi drivers are questioning why Scarborough Borough Council wants to change the way their MOT tests are carried out.

The council is proposing that all MOT’s for taxi’s and private hire vehicles should be done at the councils own facility rather than at independent garages.

The proposed change is contained in the councils ‘Draft Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Policy’ which has been put out to public consultation. The document regulates the way the industry works in the borough and includes rules about …..

Section 3.4 of the new document states..

All MOT tests and vehicle licence compliance checks shall be carried out at
Scarborough Borough Council’s garage, Dean Road Depot, Dean Road
Scarborough, YO12 7QS. Any MOT tests or licence compliance checks
carried out by any other garage/testing centre on hackney carriage or private
hire vehicles shall not be accepted.

Local taxi driver Will Barraclough says the proposed regulation is unfair

“It’s forcing all taxis to go to the council depot for MOT testing, what this will do is remove the trade from local garages, we thinks that’s £42,000 a year out of the local market, one of the biggest questions is why are they suddenly doing this?”

Will questions what difference the change will make to safety and what message it sends to the public.

“If the council say that the MOT must be done by them, why are they saying that and why is any other garage MOT inadequate, they are all trained by the same governing body – VOSA – everyone is trained the same way, why all of a sudden are local garages inadequate, what sort of reflecting is that going to paint amongst the public? Are they immediately going to think that where they are getting their car MOT’d is inadequate to what the council can offer when in fact it’s the same test.”

Jonathan Bramley, Scarborough Borough Council’s Environment and Regulation Manager said:

“We are aware that the proposed requirement for all private hire and hackney carriage MOT tests and compliance checks to be undertaken at our own depot in Scarborough is of concern to some of those operating in the trade. However it is for good reasons that we are proposing this change. Presently an MOT may be undertaken at any MOT certified garage, anywhere in the country, with the additional compliance checks being undertaken by our licensing officers during a two week period, twice a year. The consistency of existing MOT tests is of concern to us, particularly considering the results from snap inspections we have conducted since October 2015, where faults were found with vehicles which had only recently undergone and passed an MOT test. We do not think this is an acceptable situation for vehicles entrusted with carrying members of the public.

“The revised vehicle testing process we are proposing would combine both test elements into one comprehensive inspection at our depot. Not only will this provide consistency in terms of tests, it will negate the need for drivers to attend separate MOT and compliance visits. It would also allow us to set inspection criteria above that specified in a standard MOT test, for example the testing of fixings and equipment fitted to vehicles that have been modified to carry wheelchairs. At present there is no form of certification that assesses whether such modifications have been undertaken safely and in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, so we could improve this significantly.

“We know that for the vast majority of licensed drivers customer safety is of paramount importance, so we hope they can understand that the changes we are proposing are simply a way of us ensuring those same high standards are maintained consistently throughout the borough.

“Consultation on the proposed changes is underway with the local private hire and hackney carriage trades and they have until 9 November to respond to it, after which the council will consider all representations before making a final decision in January next year.”

Here are links to:

The Scarborough Borough Council Public Consultation

The Act Against SBC Taxi MOT Policy Petitiion

The Full Draft Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Policy

 

source: Yorkshire Coast Radio

‘Sadiq Khan is discriminating against our drivers’

Uber has called again on its customers to complain en masse to London mayor Sadiq Khan over a package of reforms affecting the taxi sector.

The San Francisco-based ride-hailing app developer has even gone as far as branding the plans “discriminatory” and particularly harmful for its many drivers born outside the UK, reports The Guardian.

Khan has outlined a series of policy measures, including £65m in grants for black cab drivers who replace older cars with less polluting vehicles.

The plans will also mean that by 2020 there will be 20 new taxi ranks and that from this year black cabs will have new rights to drive in an additional 20 bus lanes.

Khan also confirmed he will go ahead with proposals to introduce onerous English language tests for minicab drivers, including a written exam. These are currently the subject of a legal challenge by Uber.

Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London, said: “While black cabs will get £65m from the taxpayer, the Mayor is piling extra costs and red tape onto licensed private hire drivers.

“This plan will cost drivers who use Uber hundreds of pounds and thousands may lose their livelihoods as a result. Fewer drivers will mean longer waiting times for passengers.”

Elvidge added: “Many drivers who use Uber are immigrants. They work hard to look after themselves and their families. Driving has given them an opportunity to integrate into their local community.

“The mayor should be supporting these drivers, not penalising them.”

Khan said: “Our new taxi and private-hire action plan will help us deliver a truly world-class service for Londoners and create a vibrant taxi and private-hire market where all providers can continue to flourish.

“From my first day at City Hall I have been determined to drive up standards and improve safety for every passenger in London, while protecting the future of our iconic black cabs that provide a unique and invaluable service for Londoners.”

source: http://www.theweek.co.uk/

Tourism Action Plan

Policy paper

Tourism Action Plan

From: Department for Culture, Media & Sport and Tracey Crouch MP

First published: 26 August 2016

Part of: Tourism

This report outlines how the government will be supporting the tourism industry and ensuring the benefits of tourism will be felt across the United Kingdom

 

Link to plan document

 

Page 9

Commonsense Regulation

Working in partnership with the Tourism Industry Council, we have identified four areas of regulation where progress can be made to allow tourism businesses to flourish:

• We will seek to deregulate an element of Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) licences as soon as parliamentary time allows. This will allow owners of hotels/ attractions to collect visitors from train stations/ ports of entry, without having to apply for PHV licences (operator, vehicle and driver).

Should West Suffolk taxi drivers complete course before getting licence?

The West Suffolk councils are asking people to give their views on whether current and future taxi drivers should have a qualification before being given a licence.

The one being considered is a City and Guilds-recognised BTEC level two which would take around 18 hours to complete.

It would cover issues relating to taxis and private hire vehicles such as health and safety, road safety, customer service, vehicle maintenance, disability awareness and assistance, fares, carrying of luggage and transporting of children and vulnerable people.

Drivers applying for a licence would initially be able to complete the course at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds, with other locations potentially being introduced later.

The West Suffolk cabinet members responsible for licensing, Cllr Alaric Pugh and Cllr Lance Stanbury, both support the requirement for a qualification.

In a joint statement, they said:

“Other areas across the country already insist on taxi and private hire drivers being able to demonstrate they understand not just laws relating to driving, but other issues which affect the safety and wellbeing of their passengers.

“They are often in a position where they can spot something unusual or potentially illegal happening, such as human trafficking, for example.

“Learning what to look out for and what to do, especially when it comes to keeping passengers safe, seems to us to be a sensible idea and we would like to know what drivers and passengers think.”

The consultation takes less than five minutes to complete and will run until August 31.

It is available online at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/consultations and printed copies are available by calling 01284 763233 or 01638 719000.

Read more at: http://www.buryfreepress.co.uk

View sought on council’s new taxi policy

A consultation on the draft policy was given the go-ahead this week by councillors at Licensing Committee. It will run until 22 August.

The council is responsible for licensing hackney carriage and private hire vehicles and their associated proprietors and operators throughout the city.

The aim of the proposed policy is to give a clear statement on how the council will work with operators to protect the public and the environment and deliver a professional, respected and easy to access taxi service for all.

One of the most important elements of the proposed new policy is the objective to license only low emissions taxi vehicles by 2026.

Air quality is poor in a number of locations in the city where there is a concentration of emissions from buses, taxis and service vehicles.

The council’s Air Quality Action Plan last year identified reducing emissions from taxis and buses as one key policy to help improve air quality here.

Incentives to encourage the take-up of low emission taxis, in order to help meet the proposed 2026 targets that are under consideration in the proposed new policy, include:

  • A discount or exemption on fees for drivers of ‘Low Emission Taxis’ (petrol electric hybrids) or ‘Ultra-Low Emission Taxis’ (fully electric);
  • Extending the maximum age limit allowed for taxis if they are fully electric or petrol/electric hybrids;
  • Creating an electric taxi-only rank;
  • Providing a number of taxi-only charging points.

Other initiatives under consideration in the proposed policy include:

 

  • Making training in safeguarding and disability awareness mandatory for all taxi licence holders;
  • A review of the current medical examination requirements for licensed drivers;
  • Prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes or similar devices in taxis.

The current policy, which has been updated from time to time, has been in place since October 2011 and is now due for review.

Cllr Gerri Bird, Chair of Licensing Committee, said: “For a number of residents of the city, as well as people doing business here or visiting, the taxi trade provides an important service.

“It’s the council’s job to provide a taxi service that’s safe, accessible to all and meets demand.

“Low emission taxis are less polluting and have lower operating costs, so it is right that we look at encouraging their take-up by the taxi trade.

“Our draft policy sets out the high standards we expect and I would encourage everyone to take this opportunity to have their say on the future operation of this important city transport service.”

Residents, visitors, taxi operators and others can take part in the consultation which will be published at: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/consultations/tell-us-what-you-think-of-our-revised-taxi-licensing-policy .

Consultation letters to taxi operators and other stakeholders will also be sent out and a trade forum held.

All comments will be taken into account in preparing the final policy and the results of the consultation will be discussed by councillors at the next Licensing Committee on 17 October.

source: http://www.cambridgenetwork.co.uk/

Wychavon District Council – Consultation of Amending Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Policies

Consultation of Amending Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Policies

 

Following recent discussions with holders of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licences that it issues, Wychavon District Council is currently giving consideration to amending aspects of its policies on the licensing of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles.

Before making any final decisions however, the Council would like to seek the views of licence holders, relevant organisations and the general public on the amendments that are under consideration and therefore have produced a consultation document that I have attached to this email.

Vehicle Policy Consultation Document

If you would like to take part in the consultation please complete the consultation document and return it to;

 

Wychavon Vehicle Policy Consultation

Worcestershire Regulatory Services

Wyre Forest House

Finepoint Way

Kidderminster

Worcestershire

DY11 7WF

 

Alternatively you can return your response by email to wrsenquiries@worcsregservices.gov.uk.

The consultation will be open for responses until 24 June 2016.

Regards

 

Dave Etheridge

Cutting Red Tape

 

Review into unnecessary regulatory barriers to growth placed on businesses by Local Authorities

The Cutting Red Tape review of Local Authorities is a government review led by the Cabinet Office, DCLG and BIS, working together with other government departments and regulators. We want to identify and remove unnecessary regulatory barriers to growth and associated costs placed on businesses by local authorities, while ensuring necessary protections are maintained, and also gather evidence of where regulation imposes unnecessary or avoidable burdens and costs on local government.

As part of the review, we want to hear from businesses, trade associations, local authorities, and others with an interest in this area. The review will examine any aspects of regulation and the way it is implemented or enforced which could be made simpler, more cost-effective, efficient, proportionate, or consistent.

The review will take into account burdens imposed by planning and building control, construction regulations, food safety, standards and hygiene, environmental protection and health and safety amongst others. Now that the government is reviewing more broadly the implementation and enforcement of regulation by local authorities, it will build on the existing review of Trading Standards going beyond that current review and present all findings and the government response to the findings on Trading Standards alongside the rest of this review. We will also build on and complement issues and evidence in relation to local authorities that emerged from the Cutting Red Tape review into Housebuilding. We will seek evidence on everything from how inspections and visits are conducted and how data is requested through to guidance, advice and how accountable and responsive local authorities are to business needs. However, the scope of the review will not include fees and charges.

You can comment below or alternatively, email us @ cuttingredtape@bis.gsi.gov.uk This review closes for comment on Thursday 28th April.

source: https://cutting-red-tape.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/local-authorities/

One Month Extension to Law Commission Consultation

The Law Commission have announced a ONE MONTH extension in the time allowed for consultation.

It is not yet on the Law Commission website, as the entire project team are attending the Trade Show in Coventry.

The regional secretary of number 8 region NTA, spoke to the Head of the Team, Richard Percival, to be assured that the final date for responses is now 10th September 2012. The Department for Transport who instigated the proceedings have agreed to the change.

You are strongly encouraged to complete a response within the new time frame.

Wayne Casey

Administration Officer

National Taxi Association.

 

News release: 1 June 2012

Deadline extended on Taxis and Private Hire Services consultation

The Law Commission is extending the deadline for its public consultation on the regulation of taxis and private hire vehicles. Responding to requests from members of the taxi and private hire trades, the Commission is extending its consultation by an extra month until 10 September 2012.

Frances Patterson QC, the Law Commissioner leading on the project, said:

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and we want all those involved to feel they have had a fair chance to be heard.

“We recognise that people in the taxi and private hire trades out of London face practical difficulties in being able to get together to formulate responses. We also know that many of the London-based taxi drivers and private hire operators, as well as licensing authorities, are facing a particular challenge this summer because of the extra work that will come with the Olympics.

“As a result we thought it only right to give a longer time within which people can submit their responses.”

The purpose of the Commission’s review is to simplify, clarify and modernise the law governing taxis and private hire vehicles.

The consultation is now open until 10 September 2012. The Commission’s provisional proposals and consultation questions are outlined in the paper, “Reforming the law of taxi and private hire services”, which is available on www.lawcom.gov.uk.

 

Law Commission; Reforming the Law of Taxi and Private Hire Services

Taxi and Private Hire Services

Open date: 10 May 2012

Close date: 10 August 2012

We published a consultation paper with our provisional proposals for reform of the legal framework relating to taxis and private hire vehicles on 10 May 2012.

These proposals retain the important distinction between taxis – which can “ply for hire” on the street or a cab rank – and private hire vehicles which can only be pre-booked.

But all vehicles would be subject to national minimum safety standards and, for private hire vehicles, these would replace more than 340 sets of local regulations. This will reduce the burden on business because, once appropriately licensed, a private hire firm could work freely across the country, without geographical restrictions. This would contribute to widening consumer choice and to making services cheaper and more competitive.

We also make suggestions covering a wide range of issues, including improving provision for persons with disabilities, quantity restrictions and enforcement.

This consultation relates to our Taxi and Private Hire Services project.

Reference number: LCCP203

Reforming the law of taxi and private hire services – A Summary

REFORMING THE LAW OF TAXI AND PRIVATE HIRE – A Consultation paper

cp203_taxi-and-private-hire-services_impact-assessment