Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Remote Meeting
Contact: Democratic Services
Declarations of Interest
At this point in the meeting, Members are asked to declare:
· any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests
· any prejudicial interests or
· any disclosable pecuniary interests
which they may have in respect of business on this agenda.
Members were invited to declare any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests, any prejudicial interests or any disclosable pecuniary interests that they might have in respect of business on the agenda. No interests were declared.
To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 18 March 2020.
Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 18 March 2020 be amended to state that Members not listed as present at the meeting were unable to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions reducing the number of people able to be in a meeting room whilst observing social distancing.
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It was reported that there had been five registrations to speak on Agenda Item 4 ‘Taxi Licensing Public Consultation - vehicle
Licences’ at the meeting under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme.
Bernie Flanagan (private hire driver and York Resident) noted drivers awareness of responsibilities in relation to air quality. He noted that the policy for York missed out on out of town drivers plying for trade in York and noted the need to see this in terms of the COVID-19 crisis and economic crisis. He expressed concern regarding the affordability of suitable lower emission larger vehicles (8-9 seater). He felt that drivers who had invested in Euro 6 vehicles should be given a longer grace period and he added that the low emission taxi scheme did not support drivers.
David Hay (York Resident) noted that the COVID-19 impact would turn into a major economic crisis the following year. He expressed concern that there has been no correspondence from the council regarding the changes to the policy. He suggested that the council should lead by example by having it’s own fleet change to low emission vehicles. He suggested that the questions in the consultation had not been open. He noted the unfair nature of out of town vehicles liecnsed by other authorities being able to operate in York.
Mags Green (Resident, Private Hire Driver, Member of York Private Hire Association (YPHA) the trade hard been hit hard by the pandemic in York and the cost to them as a trade to renew vehicles was a strtch if peoposal agreed the trade would decline, there would be a loss of revenue to the council and this would also be impacted by Wolverhampton licenced vehicles and out of town drivers. She raised concern about wheelchair accessible vehicles were not readily available and she suggested that a grant scheme be made available to help the taxi trade to go green.
Neil Rowley (Resident, Private Hire Driver, Secretary of York Private Hire Association (YPHA) noted the effect of producing electric vehicles and the manufacture of their batteries on global warming. He suggested that the use of electric vehicles penalised drivers taking customers on long distance journeys, and he expressed concern regarding charging infrastructure in the region. He also explained the difficulties that drivers would have in charging their vehicles at home.
The speakers were asked what the impact of the pandemic was on the trade. Mr Flanagan noted that the effect of the pandemic on private hire trade was that business had been decimated. He noted that there were a number of small businesses not eligible for the government support schemes. Mr Rowley was asked and explained that there was a 40-50% loss of business early stages of the pandemic and this was currently 75%.
Ian Clish (York Resident, Private Hire Driver, Member of York Private Hire Association (YPHA) noted that for the foreseeable future there was no stock of 8 seater electric hybrid vehicles to meet the needs of the policy. He noted ... view the full minutes text for item 43.
At Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 16 July 2018, when Members last discussed the ‘Unmet Demand Survey’ and the City of York Council (the Council) policy regarding restrictions on the number of hackney carriage vehicle licences issued, it was resolved that Officers would ‘review the existing policy on the issue of hackney carriage vehicle licences and report back to Members after a public consultation with the trade and taxi users’. This report follows the public consultation that was undertaken.
Members considered a report that reported back on a public consultation with the trade and taxi users following the resolution to ‘‘review the existing policy on the issue of hackney carriage vehicle licences and report back to Members after a public consultation with the trade and taxi users’’ at Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 16 July 2018. Annex 1 of the report detailed the breakdown of euro standards in existing fleet, Annex 2 detailed the Taxi Incentive Scheme, Annex 3 detailed vehicle types and Annex 4 outlined the results following public consultation.
The Head of Public Protection updated Members on the consultation responses and outlined the two options available which were as follows (Option 1 was the recommended option):
i) To continue with the current restriction on numbers of hackney vehicle licences and ask Officers to commission a formal ‘unmet demand’ survey during 2021 to establish whether there continues to be significant demand for taxis which is unmet;
ii) Recommend to the Council’s Executive that they amend the Taxi Licensing Policy and conditions with regards to the type of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles that will be licensed by the Council in the future as detailed in paragraph 25 a), b), c) and d).
iii) To include a more detailed review of the use of taxi ranks as part of the unmet demand survey.
Take an alternative course of action such recommending to the Executive that the current restriction on hackney carriage vehicles be lifted and to keep the existing licensing conditions with regards to the type of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles that are licensed in future.
The Public Protection Manager and the Head of Programmes and Smart Place were in attendance to answer questions. In answer to questions raised, along with the Head of Public Protection they clarified:
· That there was an electric vehicle public charging strategy by example, the super rapid chargers in Dundee had been very successful with the licensed trade.
· The location of the fast and rapid electric charging points in the city
· That the technology for electric charging was moving very rapidly and the government for the banning of diesel and hybrid cars may come forward
· With regard to the proposed new emissions and age policy (detailed at paragraph 25 of the report), the new hackney carriage vehicles licences would only be issued to fully electric wheelchair accessible vehicles and plug in electric petrol hybrid wheelchair accessible vehicles. From January 2021, new private hire licences would only be issued to fully electric vehicle, plug in electric petrol hybrid vehicles, petrol hybrid vehicles (Euro 6 class or better (less than 7 years old) and wheelchair accessible vehicles – Euro 6 diesel/petrol or better (less than 7 years old).
· There was a need to consult with taxi drivers in terms of what they required in respect of charging failities, for example what was required in terms of inductive charging
· In relation to out of town drivers, the Home Office had ... view the full minutes text for item 44.
To consider the Committee’s Work Plan for the municipal year.
Members considered the committee’s work plan for the current municipal year.
Resolved: That the Democracy Officer work with the Chair and Officers to update the work plan and circulate to the Committee.
Reason: To ensure that the committee has a planned schedule of work for the year.
Any other business which the Chair considers urgent under the Local Government Act 1972.
The Chair noted the impact of COVD-19 on licensed premises and highlighted the update that had circulated to the Committee.
A member raised concern about the cleanliness of out of town drivers. The Head of Public Protection advised that it was lawful for out of town drivers to travel to York for work. He advised that the Director of Public Health was mindful of the controls in place for licensed vehicles.