Agenda item

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Age Limits


Members considered a report in relation to the age limits for vehicles as set out in the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Policies.


In introducing the report the Senior Practitioner (Licensing), Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) explained that this matter had originally been due to be reported to Licensing Committee in March 2020 but that meeting had been cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.


The report had not changed in the interim save that the function of determining applications by vehicle owners to exceed the age criteria which had previously been carried out by the Licensing Sub-Committee was now being exercised by officers under delegated authority.  This change had been made due to the Covid pandemic and restrictions on holding meetings.


It was noted that the Licensing Committee had considered the issue of the age limits on vehicles twice in recent years, in November 2016 and November 2018.  In November 2016 no further action had been taken to review the age limits; in November 2018 officers had been asked to carry out a consultation exercise on alternative age limits.  The results of that consultation had been reported back to Members in March 2019 but the committee had decided not to make any changes. 


The item had been placed back on the work programme again in November 2019, with Members requesting that the additional issue of vehicles producing lower emissions should also be addressed.


Members were referred to the existing age criteria limits as set out in Appendix 1, and the limits which had been consulted on in 2019, but not adopted, in Appendix 2.  Members were also referred to the statistics as to the numbers of applications granted and refused in paragraph 3.15 of the report.  Given the very high numbers of applications for extensions which were granted, this appeared to be a strong indicator that the policy should be reviewed and amended.


With regard to vehicle emissions, it was noted that other local authorities were looking to use taxi and private hire vehicle licensing policies to encourage the use of less polluting vehicles to address concerns about air quality.  For example, such an approach could be used to remove the most polluting vehicles from the fleet.  Members were referred to specific examples from other local authorities as set out in paragraphs 3.19 to 3.21 of the report. 


At the invitation of the Chair the legal officer summarised the issues that Members have to take into consideration when determining an application for a vehicle to exceed the age criteria.


In debating the report, the Members expressed views in favour of updating the current policy particularly in light of the increasing use and availability of electric vehicles and to reflect that electric vehicles would be more expensive to acquire.  It was suggested that the Council might be able to look at examples of other authorities where policies had already been introduced to promote use of electric and greener vehicles.


The Senior Practitioner (Licensing), Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) commented that some authorities had introduced measures to prevent the most polluting vehicles from being licensed and there was a trend towards this approach being taken.  That being the case there were arguments in favour of using the policy update to incentivise licensed drivers to move to less polluting vehicles.


In response to members concerns about the availability of electric charging points, it was noted that the electric vehicle technology was improving all the time.  Hackney carriage vehicles would not be able to be “charged” while they were on the rank, but an alternative approach would be to have electric charging bays dedicated for use by taxis.


Following further discussion, a recommendation was moved and seconded that the policy should be subject to further consultation with a view to updating it as to both age limits and providing incentives for use on the fleet of lower emission and electric vehicles.  It was proposed that the starting point with regard to age limits would be to consult on the alternative ages previously consulted on as set out in the table at Appendix 2.  With regard to vehicle emissions, officers were requested to formulate an updated draft policy along the same lines as the Coventry City Council policy referenced in paragraph 3.21 of the report.  The Coventry City Council policy set specific deadlines based on Euro emissions standards to gradually achieve a fleet of zero emission vehicles by 2025.


It was noted that the draft revised age criteria policy would be brought back before Members at a future meeting for further consideration and a decision on proceeding to consultation.




1.    Officers be directed to draw up a revised age criteria policy with the aim of encouraging licensed hire drivers to use less polluting vehicles.

2.    In drafting the revised policy, officers be directed to use the age limits previously consulted upon as set out in Appendix 2 of the report and to incorporate a phased approach to removing the most polluting vehicles along similar lines to that introduced by Coventry City Council as set out in paragraph 3.21 of the report.




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