The Council licences taxis and drivers throughout the Borough as a means to ensure public safety and to support the licensed trade. The Council’s standards for licensed vehicles and drivers are contained in its Taxi Licensing Policy, which is reviewed every three years and will be replaced in 2016.
The Council wants to hear your views on the proposed changes to the policy and has started a public consultation which will run until 10 January 2016.
Smoking is prohibited from all licensed vehicles and the Council is seeking to extend this ban to e-cigarettes. By doing so, the Council wishes to promote improved public health for drivers and passengers. E-cigarettes have the potential to make smoking appear more acceptable and also makes enforcement of the current no smoking rule more difficult.
Other proposals include revising the ‘knowledge test’ for new driver licence applicants to place greater emphasis on the understanding of licence conditions and issues relating to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. A new urgent action procedure is also suggested , which aims to improve the way officers can deal with those licence holders that may have either been accused or convicted of a serious offence and the matter needs to be addressed quickly.
New procedures are also planned which set out how the Council assesses the criminal history of applicants or existing licence holders. The proposals are based on a document agreed by officer groups across Lancashire and Greater Manchester and is designed to promote consistency and transparency in licensing decisions.
To read the draft policy and find out how you can give your views, please visit www.westlancs.gov.uk/yourviews and click on consultations underway.
Councillor Kevin Wright, portfolio holder for Health and Community Safety said: “This is a very important policy for the Council and we would welcome the views of anyone living and working in the borough as well as the licensed trade. We would particularly like to hear from people who use taxis regularly so that we can ensure our policy meets the needs of local people.”
The police and local taxi companies and drivers have been contacted directly to get their views.
All comments received will be presented to the Licensing and Appeals Committee for consideration.