South Cambridgeshire District Council has published a draft new licensing policy for consultation which would, if adopted, make the Council’s licensed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles greener. The draft policy would build on the existing policy implemented in early 2018, in a bid to ensure passengers’ and drivers’ safety and which is thought of as “one of the most stringent taxi licensing policies in the country”.
If adopted, the proposed policy changes would see drivers and operators making the move to zero and ultra-low emission vehicles, in line with South Cambridgeshire District Council’s pledge to support an ambitious target of cutting local carbon emissions to zero well before 2050. To support the transition to an electric fleet, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council have secured joint Government funding to establish new electric car charging points across the district by the end of 2019 for exclusive use by taxis. In addition to new licences no longer being granted to vehicles older than four years, the policy would see licences no longer renewed for: petrol or diesel vehicles older than seven years; ultra-low emissions vehicles older than 12 years; or zero emissions vehicles older than 15 years. New conditions have also been added that would see all first-time vehicle applications be zero or ultra-low emission by December 2021, and all licence applications be zero or ultra-low emission by December 2028. Cllr Bill Handley, Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing, said: “The shift from high carbon emissions to low or zero emissions has the potential to have a huge positive impact on the environment across our district. By the very nature of their work, Hackneys and Private Hire cars are significant contributors to air pollution and the reduction of emissions from over a thousand of them will play an important part in the Council’s drive to improve air quality. “Vehicle manufacturers across the world are now putting huge resources into electric vehicle technology and they are rapidly becoming mainstream. Their performance and range is improving all the time as are the number of charging points. As the competition increases, prices will come down, encouraging many more people to make the move to electric. It’s important that councils play a part in driving change when we have the opportunity, so I am pleased that these proposals will kick-start the move to a green fleet. We’re determined to do all we can as a council to be green to our core and this is yet another contributor towards achieving that ambition. “I would encourage all drivers, operators and interested members of the public to take part in the consultation. One way to do so is by coming along to our consultation event on either 29 or 30 July, from 10.30am to 3.30pm. Copies of the consultation document will be available at the council offices in Cambourne, and there will be an opportunity to ask questions about the proposals, as well as a chance to give your feedback. It’s a public event so all are welcome to drop in.” Other proposed changes – to confirm ‘fit and proper’ behaviour of operators and drivers – include the introduction of a one-year probationary period before a full licence is granted, and a requirement for applicants to provide two references, including one from a professional person. You can comment on the proposed new policy by visiting the South Cambridgeshire website.
Drivers and operators are encouraged to attend the drop-in consultation event at any time between 10.30am and 3.30pm on 29 or 30 July at the Council offices in Cambourne. The deadline to submit feedback is the end of the day on Monday 23 September 2019.