North Tyneside Council have announced their intentions to launch a public consultation over proposed changes to the way taxis and private hire cars are licensed in the area. Cabinet members from the council agreed on Monday to seek the views of local drivers, residents and businesses, on a revised policy which they say aims to ensure the safety and welfare of the public, encourage environmental sustainability, and ensure efficient taxi and private hire services in the borough.
A range of stakeholders will be asked for their views on the introduction of a new vehicle age requirement, as part of a plan to improve air quality as outlined in the council’s Transport Strategy. Under the draft proposals, no new licences would be granted for vehicles more than four years old. The proposals come following the council’s declaration of a climate emergency in July, when councillors pledged to fast-track the authority’s Low Carbon Plan 2016-2027 to achieve a 50% carbon reduction four years ahead of schedule. Other key amendments would see the introduction of online applications and mandatory criminal checks. The public will also be asked their views on things like tinted windows, in-car digital advertisements, and changes to the knowledge test.
The authority licenses around 183 taxis, 1030 PHVs, 1097 drivers and 23 operators in the borough. The consultation period will start later this month on 28 October and last for eight weeks before the draft policy comes back to Cabinet in February 2020. It is anticipated that the revised policy would be implemented on 1 April 2020.