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Council consulting public and trade on proposed changes to Cambridge taxi licensing policy

News release from 27/08/2019

CAMBRIDGE City Council is committed to improving air quality in Cambridge, and has an ambitious taxi licensing policy which pledges that all licensed saloon taxis in the city will have to be zero or ultra-low emission vehicles by 2028.

The council is now encouraging more people to have their say on some proposed changes to the city’s taxi licensing policy.

The consultation, which ends on 31 August, is taking place following a number of requests from the taxi trade for the current policy to be amended.

Among the main changes being considered following requests from the taxi trade are:

  1. Amend the policy to require the mandatory display of a contact telephone number on operator door signs for private hire vehicles - Members of the public may wish to make telephone contact with an operator regarding a driver or vehicle. If a contact telephone number is displayed, it provides members of the public with another means of making contact with the operator. This would support safeguarding of the public, to help ensure concerns and complaints are reported and dealt with promptly.

  2. Extend the policy’s implementation date for all newly-licensed saloon vehicles to be zero or ultra-low emission - The current policy states 1 April 2020 as the initial implementation date for all newly-licensed saloon vehicles to be zero or ultra-low emission, and December 2028 for all licensed saloon vehicles to be zero or ultra-low emission, as part of the council’s work to reduce emissions in Cambridge.

    The council is completing research on the current vehicle market of electric vehicles that would meet the criteria of a Cambridge City licensed vehicle.

    Based on the research findings the council will consider if this implementation date of 1 April 2020 should be extended. However the ultimate date of December 2028 will remain in force.

    Some members of the taxi trade contacted the council with the opinion that there is currently insufficient availability of suitable vehicles in the UK to make complying with this achievable. When this aspect of the policy was first introduced in March 2018 there was an acceptance that the council may need to be flexible, depending on the state of the market for zero or ultra-low emission vehicle.

  3. Remove the age limit for all newly-licensed zero or ultra-low emission vehicles to be less than four years old - Currently the policy states that all newly-licensed vehicles must be less than four years old to be licensed as a Cambridge City Council vehicle, to ensure that newer vehicles are less polluting. However with the new zero and ultra-low emission vehicle standards in the policy, this age limit may not be necessary, meaning taxi drivers could buy second hand electric vehicles which are more affordable to a wider range of drivers.

The council is responsible for licensing all Hackney carriage, private hire and dual drivers, as well as taxi proprietors and operators in Cambridge.

The licensing policy is designed to ensure that the public and the taxi trade can refer to a document that explains all aspects of taxi licensing in Cambridge in a clear and transparent way.

The policy’s stated objectives are to protect the public, encourage a professional and respected trade, provide an efficient and effective service, and to protect the environment.

Cllr Gerri Bird, Chair of the Licensing Committee, said: “We have responded to requests from those in the taxi trade to review some aspects of the licensing policy by holding this consultation.

“Air quality and climate change are high priorities for this council and this is the  reason why such a policy to ensure all our licensed saloon vehicles will be electric or low emission by December 2028, was introduced in March 2018.

“However we are constrained by the manufacturing market and we need to ensure that that any implementation dates that are set are realistic. This is the reason why we need to reconsider the interim date of April 2020 as to whether it is realistic.”

For more information on the consultation people can visit www.cambridge.gov.uk/consultations/hackney-carriage-and-private-hire-licensing-policy or request a copy by phoning 01223 457000. The closing date for responding to the consultation is 31 August at 11.59pm.

All the feedback received from the consultation will be considered by councillors at the next meeting of the Licensing Committee on 30 September, when they will decide whether to implement any changes to the taxi licensing policy.

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