Residents, businesses and visitors are invited to share their views on a review of the policy relating to hackney carriages and private hire vehicles, drivers and operators licensed by Durham County Council.
The local authority has launched a public consultation over proposed changes to the way vehicles, drivers and operators are licensed.
The council’s key aims in what it is proposing are to ensure the safety and welfare of the public and encourage environmental sustainability.
The authority’s current Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy was formally adopted in 2016 and was then amended in 2018. The council reviews this policy at least every five years and makes changes at other times where necessary.
The purpose of the policy is to explain how the council undertakes its functions in relation to hackney carriage and private hire licensing. Its primary focus is on safeguarding and public protection.
The council is looking to revise the policy in line with the Department for Transport’s recently published ‘Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards’. The department expects its recommendations to be implemented unless there is a compelling reason not to do so.
Several possible changes to policy are being put forward for consideration. The main changes that concern licensed vehicles, drivers and operators include:
- The implementation of the requirements of the new national standards for taxi and private hire licensing
- A new policy on vehicle emissions and the age of licensed vehicles
- A new policy in respect of previous convictions and offences
- A new policy on drug and alcohol testing
- Changes to the suspension and revocation of driver licences
- Requirement of refresher training on child sexual exploitation every three years
- All applicants for a vehicle licence must undergo a basic Disclosure and Barring Service check
- All drivers to be trained in disability awareness
- Additional conditions for private hire operators
In addition, the council is also consulting on the use of in-vehicle visual and audio recording via CCTV technology.
The consultation runs until midnight on Sunday 29 November 2020.
Further information and a questionnaire are available online at https://www.durham.gov.uk/article/24130/Review-of-our-Hackney-Carriage-and-Private-Hire-Licensing-Policy