Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors J Burrell (Vice-Chairman), Mrs A Muckle, B E Read, C J Shippam and Mrs N C Wightman.
At the suggestion of the Chairman and with the agreement of all Members present it was RESOLVED:
That Councillor D E Hunnisett assume the position of Vice- Chairman of the Committee for the duration of the meeting in the absence of Councillor J Burrell.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.
There were no declarations of interest.
The Chairman asked Members to confirm the minutes of the Committee’s previous meeting held on 25 March 2014.
Councillor A Bardoe advised that Minute No. 18 (bottom of page 3 - top of page 4) in the published agenda document did not fully represent comments he had made at the Licensing Committee held on 25 March. He asked that the following amendment be noted for the record with regard to Minute No. 18:
“Councillor A Bardoe noted in this respect that some neighbouring Kent Authorities including Gravesham and Sevenoaks, Grays in Essex, the London Boroughs of Bexley and Bromley and the Metropolitan area as a whole under Transport for London (TfL), required drivers to have a minimum of 36 months driving experience before applying for a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle driver’s licence ……”
That the Minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 25 March 2014 be confirmed subject to the proposed amendment as detailed by Councillor Bardoe above.
The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.
The Chairman confirmed that there were no urgent items for consideration.
To consider the responses to the consultation and other matters raised by consultees.
The Chairman advised that it should be noted that the consultation response from the DPHDA and more specifically the issues regarding the penalty points scheme – had been covered in the Officer’s report and would not be revisited.
The Chairman invited the Senior Licensing Officer (SLO) to present her report on the response from the Trades and the public to the Council’s proposals as Licensing Authority to review the minimum 21 years of age criteria and to extend the qualifying 12 months full GB or equivalent driving licence requirement to 36 months.
The SLO made the following points in support of the Officer recommendation that the Committee not extend the current 12 months qualifying period for holding a full ordinary GB driving licence, or equivalent, to 36 months [Recommendation 2.2 report para 3 (g) agenda page 7 and 9]:
· Officers agreed with the responses from All Night Cars and the Dartford Private Hire Drivers Association (DPHDA) as set out in Appendix A; that the proposed amendment to 36 months would be a barrier to new applicants joining the Trade and may lead to a decline in the number of drivers, specifically as a large number of drivers are over the age of 50;
· Officers further concluded that raising the qualifying period for holding a full ordinary GB licence, or equivalent to 36 months could disadvantage older applicants seeking to re-train as hackney carriage or private hire drivers;
· There was no evidence that increasing the minimum requirement to 36 months improved safety;
· Requiring first time applicants for a passenger carrying licence to pass the DSA test was a further safeguard to the 12 month requirement to hold an ordinary GB or equivalent licence;
· Officers had conducted a comparison survey of the other 12 Kent local authorities and Transport for London (TfL), only the latter required a 36 month criteria, and only for Private Hire (Mini Cab) drivers not for Black Cab [Hackney Carriage] drivers and that;
· the partial requirement by TfL was illogical, especially given that Black Cab drivers tended to be older and there was an evidence base that an older driver’s abilities declined with age.
Councillor A Bardoe noted that:
· 50% [7 of 14] of responses received from members of the public expressed concern over both the 21 year age criteria and the 12 month minimum requirement;
· The one member of the public content with the status quo was a former driving instructor and therefore not entirely impartial;
· Officers had supplied no statistics to support the adverse impact argument for applicants, particularly older applicants wishing to re-train as private hire or hackney carriage drivers;
· The DPDHA assertions that the Trade was in decline as indicated by fewer drivers and longer queues was contradictory;
· Both the DVLA and motor insurance companies set store and had greater confidence in drivers with 3 years or more experience as evidenced by premium levels for younger drivers particularly those aged below 21;
· All ‘neighbouring’ local authorities have a 36 month requirement.
The Vehicle Licensing ... view the full minutes text for item 5.