Agenda and minutes

Planning, Regulatory & General Licensing Committee (General Licensing Matters)
Monday, 14th June, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Democratic Services  6139

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Simultaneous Translation

You are welcome to use Welsh at the meeting a minimum notice period of 3 working days is required should you wish to do so.  A simultaneous translation will be provided if requested.

Minutes:

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

 

2.

Apologies

To receive.

Minutes:

The following apologies for absence were received:-

 

Councillor J. Hill

Councillor C. Meredith

 

3.

Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

To receive.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

 

4.

Taxi Policy - Department for Transport Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards pdf icon PDF 420 KB

To consider the report of the Senior Licensing Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Senior Licensing Officer.

 

The Team Manager – Trading Standards and Licensing informed that the report detailed the ‘Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards document and the Welsh Government’s ‘Guide to Harmonisation of Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing in Wales’. A copy of the aforementioned documents was provided in the appendices. The Team Manager also stated that the report sought approval for a change to the Authority’s Policy Relating to Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licences to allow for 6 monthly Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks to take place.

 

The Team Leader further spoke to the report and outlined the key points. The Team Leader assured the Committee that the Authority was already implementing most of the recommendations and a working group which had been set up across Wales to further their implementation in a consistent manner across Wales. In terms of costs to licence holders it was reported that at present the Council expected licensed drivers to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Services report (DBS) every three years at the licence holders expense of £50. The Standards suggested that these checks should be carried out every six months and that this is therefore best achieved if the licence holder signs up to the DBS Update Service.

This enabled a rolling programme to be implemented which allowed the Council to check records without the need for the licence holder to make a new application. The costs to the licence holder for the new system was £13 per year. This eventually would result in a small saving to the licence holder and the benefit to the Council would be that records could be checked instantly.

 

The Team Manager – Trading Standards and Licensing referred the Committee to the Option 1 which was the preferred option and advised that further reports would be presented to the Committee if and when there were further changes proposed via the working group or proposed policy changes. It was added that informal consultation had been undertaken with the taxi trade’s association in Blaenau Gwent and no significant issues of concern had been identified, therefore it was felt that there was no need to further consult at this point in time on the proposal before the Committee. Further consultation with the trade would occur as appropriate on other changes, as necessary.

 

At this juncture the Chair invited questions from Members.

 

A Member felt that once the new system was up and running it gave the larger operators the added safeguard that a driver, if convicted would be identified and reported accordingly.

 

Another Member welcomed the report and felt that it gave additional assurances which was paramount for the safety of the public. The Member asked if there had been any sexual assaults reported in Blaenau Gwent as there had been in Manchester and Merseyside. It was confirmed that Officers were not aware of any similar incidents reported in Blaenau Gwent.

 

In response to a question  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Cardiff Capital Region Green Taxi Pilot Scheme pdf icon PDF 402 KB

To consider report of the Senior Licensing Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Senior Licensing Officer.

 

The Team Manager – Trading Standards and Licensing advised that the report outlined the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) Green Taxi Pilot Scheme to be introduced in Blaenau Gwent and sought approval to allow an exception to the Authority’s Policy Relating to Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licences in respect of the livery of these vehicles.

 

This request was consistent and identifiable across the other 12 authorities who were taking part in the pilot scheme. The report reflected work to be carried out by the Licensing team within existing resources, however there are no financial implications as cost would be fully funded by the Cardiff Capital Region.

 

The Team Leader further spoke to the report and gave details of the pilot scheme. The Team Leader noted that Welsh Government had set a target of decarbonisation for all local authorities taxi fleet in Wales by 2028 and it was hoped that the Green Taxi pilots would assist in achieving the target. The pilot scheme would run for 2-3 years and associated charging ports for use by taxis/private hire vehicles would be installed near or in main taxi ranks in Blaenau Gwent. The more detailed information was being finalised and once it was available reports would be presented accordingly to ensure Members were kept up to date.

 

The Team Leader stated that Blaenau Gwent Licensing Authority was not the lead on the project, the Authority was taking part in the pilot scheme. The Management of the scheme would be carried out by a management Company within the Cardiff Capital Region.

 

 

 

 

 

The Authority had been provided with two wheelchair accessible Nissan Dynamo vehicles and these would be available for drivers during the trial free of charge. It was hoped that the scheme would be a ‘try before you buy’ initiative, allowing licensed taxi drivers to try the vehicle free of charge for 30 days. The trial was likely to also include free electric charging, insurance, vehicle licensing, breakdown cover etc. It was felt that if drivers liked the vehicles it would create an incentive for drivers as a potential future choice of vehicle.

 

It was reported that some informal consultation had been carried out with the Blaenau Gwent Taxi Association on 28th April 2021 and a positive discussion took place on the proposed changes with no significant concerns raised.

 

The Team Leader – Trading Standards and Licensing further referred Members to the options and noted the preferred option. It was added that the vehicles to be used across the authorities taking part in the pilot would be instantly recognisable as vehicles in the green pilot scheme and these would be given an exception from normal signage.

 

At this juncture, the Chair invited questions from Members.

 

A Member as if grants would be available for taxi drivers as electric vehicle are expensive. The Senior Licensing Officer advised that there would be grants available, however the vehicle provided was top of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Time of Future Meetings

To discuss.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that future meetings be held at 2.00 p.m.