The General Licensing Committee at North Kesteven District Council is set to undertake a comprehensive review of its Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licensing Policy. One significant proposal that has drawn attention is the potential removal of the upper age limit for vehicles licensed by the Council.
Under the current policy, the Council does not license any Hire Vehicle once it reaches its tenth year of registration, unless it meets specific exceptional condition criteria outlined in the policy. This age policy was initially put in place to take into consideration emissions concerns associated with older diesel vehicles while offering some flexibility for the trade when licensing cars.
However, in light of the recent tightening of emissions criteria under the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) MOT requirements, and the anticipation of future proposals to further tighten national emissions standards, the General Licensing Committee believes that relaxing the current age policy could strike a better balance. It would provide more flexibility for the trade while ensuring that hire vehicles, which undergo MOT testing every six months, still adhere to stringent national emissions criteria.
The proposed amendment is now subject to a consultation period, which began on 7 July and will run until Monday 24 July 2023. During this time, interested parties, including stakeholders and the general public, will have the opportunity to share their views and provide feedback on the proposed changes.
Once the consultation period concludes, the General Licensing Committee will review and consider all responses before making a final decision on whether to remove the upper age limit for licensed vehicles.
The proposed amendment has sparked interest and debate among local, and national, taxi operators and residents. Proponents argue that removing the age limit will provide better opportunities during a a time of mounting costs, to save and invest in newer vehicles. It is also hoped that the extension in taxi age limits will also help retain more drivers in the industry.
The outcome of this review will invariably shape the future of the Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licensing Policy in North Kesteven. Stakeholders and interested individuals are encouraged to participate in the consultation process and make their voices heard before the final decision is made.
To participate in the consultation or obtain further information, individuals are encouraged to visit the North Kesteven District Council website or contact the General Licensing Committee directly.