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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room B12. View directions

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors J Burrell, D E Hunnisett and L J Reynolds.

2.

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.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests.

3.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 300 KB

The Minutes of the Meetings of the Licensing Committee held on 27 November 2018; and the Licensing sub - Committee held on 9 November 2018 and 4 June 2019 are attached for confirmation

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meetings of the Licensing Committee held on 27 November 2018 and of the meetings of the Licensing Sub-Committee held on 9 November 2018 and 4 June 2019 be confirmed as accurate records.

4.

Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

5.

Chairman's Welcome

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed new Members to the first meeting of the Licensing Committee since the local government elections in May 2019.

 

He explained the remit and functions of the Committee in shaping policies on such matters as hackney carriages and private vehicle hire licensing, premises licensing, food and event licensing and also the role of its Sub-Committees in determining individual applications for licences. He encouraged all Members to put themselves forward to serve on the Sub-Committees, as and when they were required to meet, and said that he was keen for Sub-Committees to be constituted on a cross-party basis wherever possible.  A Member asked for the Democratic Services team to advise Members of a deadline for them to volunteer to serve on a Sub-Committee when canvassing Member’s availability to serve on a particular meeting as there was a perception that membership was determined by whoever responded first rather than allowing time for more Members to offer their services and therefore being able to broaden the participation. The Democratic Services Manager said that this would be done in future but reminded Members that some Sub-Committee meetings had to be arranged at very short notice and consequently with tight deadlines.   

     

6.

Draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Licensing Manager presented a report which proposed amendments to the current Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licensing Policy 2017-2020 to make subscription to the DBS Update Service mandatory for all licensed drivers upon new and renewal applications. Currently section 25 of the policy required an applicant for a private hire/hackney carriage driver’s licence to submit a current enhanced DBS certificate with their application, and at three yearly intervals thereafter, in hard copy but this did not easily facilitate timely assessment of criminal records checks for applications and the issue of licences. It was therefore proposed to make registration to the DBS Update Service mandatory for all applicants so that real time checks could be carried out prior to the issue of the licence and during the period of the licence to ensure that the licence holder was free of relevant convictions. It was the intention to carry out real time checks on an annual basis rather than every three years as was currently the case. The proposed amendments had been consulted with the Trade and no representations had been received. A number of drivers had offered positive comments and had already signed up to the DBS Update Service voluntarily. Members welcomed the proposed amendment to the policy.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That, for the reasons detailed in the body of the report, section 25 of the Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licensing Policy, be amended to make registration to the DBS Update Service mandatory, with the conditions contained in Appendix A to the report.

7.

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy - Environmental Considerations and Private Hire Vehicles Age Specification pdf icon PDF 213 KB

Minutes:

The Licensing Manager presented a report which considered the environmental aspects of the Hackney Carriage & Private Hire vehicles licensing function prior to the review of the current Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Policy due to be carried out at the end of 2019 in preparation for the introduction of a revised policy from 1 April 2020. As part of the review consideration would be given to ways in which the licensing of Hackney Carriage & Private Hire vehicles could contribute to the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and the Council’s environmental agenda to reduce pollution and emissions and to support improvements in air quality.  Drivers had also requested a review of the current age specification for use of their vehicles, which was that vehicles could operate under a licence until they were 8 years old, which was inconsistent with the 10 year specification contained in the policies of neighbouring authorities which they felt disadvantaged Dartford licencees. The Committee was therefore asked to increase the final life age specification in the Policy to 10 years with immediate effect. One of the areas under consideration as part of the forthcoming review of the policy was whether to move away from age criteria towards a requirement that all newly licenced vehicles should be Euro 6 or 7 compliant or hybrid/electric within a specific timescale and extending the current age limit to 10 years would help existing licence holders with the transition to such a new arrangement.

 

Members welcomed the proposal and the intention for the revised policy to reflect a robust approach environmental considerations. It was noted that the current age specification applied by Dartford was lower than that applied in neighbouring areas and that drivers could decide to obtain licences elsewhere which would still enable them to operate in Dartford and that the proposed amendment was reasonable given the direction of travel of the forthcoming review of the policy. The Licensing Manager confirmed that this did not prevent the Council from acting in cases where the condition of a vehicle was deemed to be unsatisfactory even if fell within the age criteria and that all licenced vehicles were required to have a MOT carried out every six months as well as a separate visual inspection by Council officers.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.    That, as part of the Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Policy review at the end of 2019, advance consideration be given to how the Hackney Carriage & Private Hire vehicles licensing function can contribute to the Government’s 25 Year Environmental Plan and the Council’s environmental agenda; and

 

2.    That, for the reasons specified in the report, the final Vehicle Age Specification for Private Hire vehicles be increased to 10 years, pending the full review of the Policy.