The Council is proposing to change the way it tests and licenses private hire and hackney carriage vehicles in the Wakefield district.
The existing vehicle testing standards policy is nearly 5 years old, during this time air pollution has risen as a priority across the distric. The Council signed up to the West Yorkshire Low Emissions Strategy in December 2016, the strategy sets out key measures to improve air quality that include Clean Air Zones and tackling emissions from private hire and hackney carriage vehicles.
We have reviewed the entire policy and propose to promote reduced emissions from licensed vehicles by requiring standard manufacturers' vehicles that meet European emissions standards.
Below are the changes we propose to make to the vehicle testing standards policy and we would like to hear what you think by completing a short survey at the bottom of this page.
Remove the requirement for a minimum engine capacity and replace it with a minimum emission standard.
Wakefield is signed up to the West Yorkshire Low Emissions Strategy 2016-2021 which has prioritised a reduction in harmful emissions from taxis. The proposed standards will mean that newly licensed vehicles will be compliant with Clean Air Zone standards, permitting taxis and private hire vehicles to enter CAZ areas such as the one proposed for Leeds in 2019 without charge. Additionally, modern engines are more efficient and can therefore achieve the same output as older vehicles with smaller engine capacities.
We propose that newly licensed vehicles meet Euro VI emissions standards for diesel and Euro V for petrol. This would mean that vehicles older than a 65 plate for diesel or a 60 plate for petrol would not be licensed.
Introduce an upper age limit and remove of the existing lower one.
At the moment, vehicles must be under five years old at first licensing, as no upper age limit currently exists, vehicles can remain on the fleet indefinitely. We propose to limit vehicles to an upper age of 10 years or 12 in the case of multi seater/wheelchair accessible vehicles. There would be no lower limit but vehicles will need to comply with emissions standards.
To allow manufacturers' standard vehicles on the fleet.
The Council has until now specified minimum seat spacing and headroom, which can restrict the trade when looking to purchase a manufacturers standard vehicle. Requiring minimum spacing meant that van conversions met a consistent standard but this approach has prevented vehicles becoming licensed and can confuse and restrict drivers seeking to licence a vehicle.
Passenger limits to be dictated by either the V5C document (log book) or, in the case of conversions, a DVSA Individual Vehicle Approval certificate, both of which specify the number of passengers allowed to be carried. Until now it has been at the discretion of the Council to decide passenger numbers.
Removal of a minimum requirement for luggage space.
We propose to allow the type of booking to dictate the appropriate vehicle for the job, for example; smaller vehicles would not be appropriate for airport runs but would be perfectly adequate for transporting revellers from town and city centres at the weekend. Removal of the requirement would allow operators to utilise smaller low emission or electric vehicles for bookings and transport within the city centre, particularly if said city centre is designated a clean air zone.
To remove the mandatory requirement to carry a fire extinguisher and first aid kit.
Drivers are not trained in the use of either. Best practice guidance would appear to prescribe exiting the vehicle in case of fire, not attempting to tackle it. The contrasting philosophy is that it is good practice by any organisation to have these, if they are in the business of transporting members of the public. Consultation views are sought on all aspects of fire extinguisher and first aid kits.
Introduce new livery to private hire vehicles.
We believe this would assist the public to identify authentic private hire vehicles by requiring stickers announcing advanced booking only and the operators name be attached to doors.
You can find the full draft of the Vehicle Testing Standards here (attached is the draft policy)
The consultation runs for 8 weeks and ends on 13 December 2017. Start now >>