Agenda Item No 5
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Public Protection Licensing Committee: 6th March 2018
Report of the Director of Environment and Housing
Request for an Exemption from Condition 9 of the Vale of Glamorgan Conditions for Private Hire Vehicle Licences
Purpose of the Report
- To consider a request by Business Drive Wales to be exempt from the requirement to display door stickers on two of their Private Hire Vehicles.
- Officers are not delegated the authority to issue a Private Hire Vehicle Licence other than in accordance with Standard Condition 9 above.
It is recommended that Members give careful consideration to the request taking into account whether or not public safety would be compromised were the following recommendations accepted:-
- grant an exemption from Condition 9 relating to Private Hire Vehicles to Business Drive Wales in respect of the licences for vehicle registrations ST17 XXC (PH078) and YK66 DMJ (PH102).
- refuse the application giving full reasons for their decision.
The officer recommendation is that the Committee must consider the application on its merit. If they are of the view that there is no public interest in granting this exemption having regard to public safety, the application should be refused.
Members are reminded that when a vehicle is licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle the type of fares that the vehicle is used to carry out cannot be controlled and as such it will not be restricted to 'Executive' work.
Reason for the Recommendation
To advise Members of the options available to them.
- Business Drive Wales have been a licensed Operator of Private Hire Vehicles in the Vale of Glamorgan since September 2014.
- On 8th February 2018 the Licensing Authority received a formal request on behalf of Business Drive Wales to have an exemption from the requirement for door stickers to be displayed on two of the company's Private Hire Vehicles. The email is attached to this Report at Appendix A.
- The vehicles concerned are: a Grey, E-Class Mercedes-Benz, registration ST17 XXC, licensed since August 2017 and PH078, and a Silver, Ford Tourneo, registration YK66 DMJ, licensed since February 2017 as PH102.
- Current private hire legislation does not distinguish between the different types of business model and standard conditions relating to displaying door stickers apply to all vehicle licences. This is in order to ensure public safety.
Relevant Issues and Options
- Condition number 9 of the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Conditions for Private Hire Vehicles states that, The proprietor and/or driver shall at all times ensure that there shall be clearly displayed on the centre or upper part of each front door of the vehicle, the adhesive private hire identification sticker supplied by the Licensing Authority. The stickers must be permanently fixed to each door with the identification sticker's adhesive backing.
- The rationale in relation to this condition is that members of the public can clearly identify Licensed Private Hire Vehicles from both the rear and the side of the vehicle. The door stickers also clearly advise that Private Hire vehicles must be pre booked, the stickers also display the licence number, this aids both the public and the Licensing section with regard to enforcement.
- The applicant has referred to the use of the vehicles for weddings. There is a distinction between licensed vehicles and those vehicles which are deemed exempt from the licensing requirements of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. The vehicles under consideration in this report are already licensed and therefore deemed to be private hire vehicles as set out in the case of Benson v Boyce  RTR 226. This means that once licensed, these private hire vehicles are always classed a private hire vehicle and subject to the conditions of licence imposed on the licence.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- 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)
- Section 48(2) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 allows a Council to make conditions relating to the prohibition or the displaying of signs on Private Hire Vehicles licensed by that Authority.
"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."
- Section 48(7) states;
Any person aggrieved by the refusal of a district council to grant a vehicle licence under this section, or by any conditions specified in such a licence, may appeal to a magistrates' court.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- Under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 the Council has a statutory duty to consider crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour implications whilst regulating licensing activities. There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this Report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- The Council is obliged to apply its licensing conditions on an equitable basis in the case of all applications.
- Regulatory Services contribute to the Well Being Outcome 1: "An inclusive and Safer Vale and Objective 2 Providing decent homes and safe communities".
Policy Framework and Budget
- This is a matter for decision for the Public Protection Licensing Committee.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Homes and Safe Communities
Yvonne Witchell, Team Manager Licensing 01446 709478
Richard Price, Lawyer, Legal Services 01446 709409
Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing