New Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy

Published: Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Following a review of the Councils Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy due to statutory guidance being issued under Section 177 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 by the Department of Transport. This resulted in the Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Standards (July 2020).

At the Licensing and Regulatory Committee 11 March 2021 it was unanimously agreed that the amended Policy be approved following a consultation with the industry and wider community which resulted in 293 responses. The Council has assessed the comments and the Policy has been amended or measures have been made to allow the Taxi industry to take appropriate action.

Main amendments to the Policy

A requirement for English verbal and written proficiency - there is a requirement for all drivers on first application and renewal to provide proof of their proficiency in English, where English is not their first language.

The Policy requires evidence of an English test up to level 2 to be provided with every application submitted where English is not the first language. The purpose of the English Level 2 qualification is to prepare the learner for work, study and life. Learners who achieve this qualification will demonstrate the ability to read, write, speak, listen and communicate in English.

Mandatory requirement for regular Safeguarding and County Lines training to be undertaken.

Mandatory requirement for regular Disability Awareness training to be undertaken.

DBS checks will require applicants to subscribe to the updating service and provide the Council access to the records.

Persons who work for operators will be required to undertake a DBS through the operator’s licence and a register of operatives is required to be sent to the Council and maintained.

The “fit and proper person” tests has been updated and the offences restricting the ability of persons to operate within the taxi industry have been tightened.

Provision of CCTV and applicable use within taxis is addressed. The Council is not currently advocating the comprehensive installation of CCTV cameras within this Policy amendment. However, the policy does permit the use of CCTV should drivers or operators wish to install it.

The age on vehicles on new application will be lowered from 5 to 4 years of age. This will not be brought into action until 1 April 2022.

Controls will now be put in place on vehicle emissions to ensure the Council meets its environmental agenda. The age limit for renewal vehicles on application will reduce in line with the schedule below:

  • Vehicles to be renewed from 1 April 2022 must be no older than 10 years
  • Vehicles to be renewed from 1 April 2023 must be no older than 9 years
  • Vehicles to be renewed from 1 April 2024 must be no older than 8 years
  • Vehicles to be renewed from 1 April 2025 must be no older than 7 years
  • Vehicles to be renewed from 1 April 2026 must be no older than 6 years

Ultra-Low emissions vehicles will be exempt from the age policy after 1 April 2022 and will be licenced up to 10 years of age. Applications will also have a 15% reduction on the regular vehicle application fee.

Wheel chair accessible vehicles will be exempt the age policy after 1 April 2022 and will be licenced up to 10 years of age. Applications will also have a 25% reduction on the regular vehicle application fee.

Further Government guidance was received prior to the Committee and has been incorporated into the Policy. From 1 April 2022, The Council will be required to signpost first-time applicants to HMRC guidance about their potential tax obligations and obtain confirmation that the applicant is aware of the guidance before considering the application. Where the application is not a first-time application (a renewed application) the licensing body must, before considering the application, obtain confirmation from HMRC that the applicant has completed a tax check.

The Policy will come into effect 1 April 2021.

View the policy: Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2021 (PDF Document, 1.22 Mb)

View the statutory guidance: Statutory and Best Practice Guidance for Taxi Licensing (PDF Document, 435.76 Kb)