New Taxi Policy Set for Cabinet Discussion
A new policy for the taxi and private hire trade in South Tyneside is set to be considered by Cabinet members next week.
As the Borough's Licensing Authority, the Council is responsible for making sure that the taxi and private hire services provided to the public are of the highest standard.
The policy sets out how the authority exercises its licensing functions when making decisions about new licence applications, renewals and current licences.
The Council is renewing its taxi and private hire licensing policy to reflect the Department for Transport's recent statutory guidance for taxi and private hire standards. It also takes into account legislation changes and recent case law.
A key element of the document is the introduction of a new emission standard for vehicles entering the trade to come into force from September 2022.
The proposed new policy also brings together a series of separate policies covering specific aspects of taxi licensing into one overarching document.
Councillor Jim Foreman, Lead Member for Housing and Transport, said: "The taxi and private hire trade is an integral part of the local transport network in South Tyneside. It provides an important service for the travelling public as well as accessibility to all social groups and essential support for our home to school transport service.
"This new document has been developed to promote the highest possible standards in the trade, helping to ensure the safety and welfare of the public and creating a transport network that allows people to travel in a healthy, efficient and sustainable way.
"One of the proposed updates to the policy also encourages environmental sustainability, which would help us move towards our goal of a carbon neutral future, not to mention the positive impact it would have on air quality. It has been developed alongside the Council's climate change strategy as well as the integrated transport plan for South Tyneside.
"If approved by Cabinet this policy will serve South Tyneside well for the next five years."
In setting out the revised policy, the Council aims to carry out its functions under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and the Town Police Clauses Act (1847), by promoting:
- The safety and protection of the public through ensuring licensed vehicles are safe, clean and reliable and the people who drive the vehicles are fit and proper;
- The protection of children and vulnerable adults by placing the protection of the public at its core through mandated child sexual exploitation (CSE) awareness training for all drivers;
- Environmental sustainability - with the introduction of an emission standard for new vehicles entering the trade for the first time;
- Clear and transparent clarity regarding the authority's decision-making process.
The policy has been produced following an extensive consultation exercise seeking the views of the police, transport services as well as representatives from the licensing trade.
Cabinet members are due to meet on Wednesday 16 March at 4pm, at South Shields Town Hall.