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Apologies for Absence
To receive apologies for absence from Members.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor P Jenkins
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008.
Councillor S Bletsoe – Personal declaration in Agenda item 4, as he has a close friend who owns a garage and who is an MOT provider. Though this has no direct relation to item it related to the report in general terms.
To receive for approval the minutes of the 27/09/2022
RESOLVED: That the minutes of a meeting of the Licensing Committee dated 27 September 2022 be approved as a true and accurate record.
The Team Manager – Licensing presented a report, the purpose of which, was to advise Members of a request from the taxi trade to review the current method of taxi testing and to consider whether they want Officers to undertake a feasibility study.
She advised that the Council was the licensing authority for the regulation of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles and its primary role to this end, was to ensure the safety of the public using taxis and private hire vehicles, prior to a licence being granted, and throughout the duration of the licence.
The Team Manager – Licensing confirmed that, Section 47 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 governs the testing of all motor vehicles and requires cars and minibuses to hold Ministry of Transport (MOT) Certificates. However, as passenger carrying vehicles, the current vehicle testing regime also involves elements which relate specifically to taxis and private hire vehicles and are based on the National Inspection Standards produced by the Freight Transport Association. These standards were attached at Appendix A to the report, while a copy of the taxi test element of the testing regime was attached at Appendix B.
The Council currently uses its powers under Section 50 of the Local government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to require all vehicles to be presented to the Council’s in-house MOT testing station at Ty Thomas Joint Vehicle Maintenance Facility, Newlands Avenue, Brackla Industrial Estate, Bridgend. There is a contractual arrangement in place to facilitate this requirement which comes to an end in 2024.
She explained that, under Section 50, the Council may serve notice on a vehicle proprietor to present the vehicle for testing up to three separate occasions during any one period of twelve months within the area of the Council. The current age policy determines that vehicles up to 10 years old are tested twice a year, and vehicles over 10 years old are tested three times per year.
The final element of public safety is covered through licence conditions which places the onus on the proprietor to maintain the vehicle to an acceptable standard through the course of a licence together with enforcement exercises carried out by licensing enforcement officers.
The Team Manager – Licensing explained that the Council has received representations from the taxi trade, through local Members and a petition of approximately 170 signatories, to open up taxi testing to other MOT garages. Details regarding this were shown in paragraph 4.2 of the report.
She advised that an internet-based research exercise had been conducted to determine how other authorities in Wales conduct the taxi testing regime. The results were at Appendix C of the report, and these reflected a variety of models adopted by Welsh Councils.
The principal duty of the licensing authority in relation to licensed vehicles was to ensure that the fleet is both safe and in a suitable condition to transport members of the public, the Officer added.
From a licensing perspective, the Team Manager – Licensing explained that it ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
To consider any other item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in accordance with Rule 4 of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.