Agenda Item No. 6
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Licensing Committee: 5th November 2013
Report of the Director of Development Services
Amendment to Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Age Policy Guidelines
Purpose of the Report
1. To approve an amendment to the Vale of Glamorgan's Age Policy Guidelines for the granting of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Licences to remove the Prestige 1 class.
The Officer recommends that the Age Policy Guidelines be amended by removing Prestige 1 from the Council's Age Policy Guidelines and that the remaining categories of vehicles are renamed as follows: Class 2; minibus type vehicles with an automated wheelchair lift. Class 1; all other suitable vehicles.
Reason for the Recommendation
In order to simplify the Policy for the granting of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Licences and remove an unnecessary and problematic distinction between vehicle types from the policy.
2. Under Section 47(1) and 48(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, a Local Authority has discretionary powers to attach such conditions to Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle Licences as are considered reasonably necessary.
3. At the Licensing Committee meeting of 1st June 2011 the current Age Policy Guidelines were approved. A copy of the Age Policy Guidelines appears at Section 12 of the Information Pack for Committee Members and is attached at Appendix A to this Report.
Relevant Issues and Options
4. At the Taxi Consultative Panel Meeting of 29th August 2013 the members present requested that consideration be given to the removal of the class of vehicles defined in the current Age Policy Guidelines as Prestige 1.
5. The Prestige 1 class was originally included in the policy to allow grant applications to be accepted for 'superior' vehicles up to ten years of age.
6. Because the models of modern vehicles change frequently and are available with a range of specifications for each model, it has proved difficult for criteria to be set to specify which models fall into the Prestige 1 class.
7. Both the Licensing Officers and the Fleet Manager believe that this system is problematic as it requires that a somewhat subjective decision has to be made as to the Prestige of each vehicle.
8. The proposed amendment to the policy will enable operators to procure vehicles without any ambiguity regarding whether the vehicle in question will meet the requirements for the grant of a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle Licence.
9. There are currently two vehicles licensed as Prestige 1
10. Should the proposals contained in this report be approved, it is suggested that, for clarity, the remaining categories of vehicle in the age policy are re-named as follows;
· Class 2, Minibus type vehicles with an automated wheelchair lift
· Class 1, all other suitable vehicles.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
11. Resources directed to the administration and enforcement of the Taxi Licensing function may be recovered through Taxi Licensing Fees and Charges.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
13. Section 47(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 states;
A district council may attach to the grant of a hackney carriage under the Act of 1847 such conditions as the district council may consider reasonably necessary.
14. Section 48(1) of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 states: -
Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act, a district council may on receipt of an application from the proprietor of any vehicle for the grant in respect of such vehicle of a licence to use the vehicle as a private hire vehicle, grant in respect thereof a vehicle licence: -
Provided that a district council shall not grant such a licence unless they are satisfied-
(a) that the vehicle is-
(i) suitable in type, size and design for use as a private hire vehicle;
(ii) not of such design and appearance as to lead any person to believe that the vehicle is a hackney carriage;
(iii) in a suitable mechanical condition;
(iv) safe; and
15. Section 48(2) of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 states: -
A district council may attach to the grant of a licence under this section such conditions as they may consider reasonably necessary, including without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions of this subsection, conditions requiring or prohibiting the display of signs on or from the vehicle to which the licence relates.
16. Hyndburn Borough Council ex p Abdul Rauf, ex p Halim Kasim. The High Court held that it was possible, under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, to impose the condition on the grant of a licence that no licence would be granted to a vehicle that was over a specified age.
Crime and Disorder Implications
17. Under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 the Council has a statutory duty to consider crime and disorder implications whilst regulating licensing activities. We must have due regard to the likely effect of the exercise of those functions on the need to do all we can reasonably do to prevent crime and disorder in our area.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
18. The Council is obliged to apply its Licensing conditions on an equitable basis in the case of all applications.
19. To protect the health and safety of the community by ensuring businesses meet legislative requirements, controlling infectious disease, encouraging responsible dog ownership, controlling pests and regulating animal health and welfare. To maintain a fair and equitable trading environment.
Policy Framework and Budget
20. This is a matter for decision by the Licensing Committee.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
22. Housing and Public Protection.
Amanda Ewington. Licensing Team Leader 01446 709782
Richard Price, Lawyer, Legal Services 01446 709409
Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services.