Agenda item

Agenda items for 11th May 2023






Ben Thomson – Head of Public Protection – Chair

Michael Bridge – License Unit Manager

Laura Swann – Assistant Director Operations Strategy

Nazmul Islam – Business Engagement Officer

Charles Oakes – The Hackney Driver Assoc. Ltd

David Lawrie – National Private Hire Taxi Association

Muhammad Warriach – Private Hire Drivers Association Bury

PC Peter Eccleston – GMP Bury District Licensing Officer

Kirsty Wild – Magnum Whiteline Taxis

Ean Franks – Magnum Whiteline Taxis

Sham Raja – National Private Hire & Taxi Association

K. Hussain – Bury Hackney Association


Minutes:  Maureen Foden




Welcome & Apologies



Cllr. Morris, Habib Ur-Rehman, Sgt Andy Vernon Cllr. Walmersley, Matthew Freckleton




Minutes of previous meeting 12.01.23 & Matters Arising



The minutes from the previous meeting were agreed as a true record.





A petition has been received regarding rear loading vehicles and disabled access, 21 letters were sent out and 3 responses have been received. Will investigate and evaluate the issues further, the Licensing Service will prepare a report for the Licensing & Safety Committee in due course. DL would like to be involved in submitting something to support this issue.





GMP Update



There was an aggravated assault on 8th May involving a taxi driver. The perpetrator was locked up but has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.


There was also an incident last week, where a taxi driver was arrested for drink driving.


Below is a list of events coming up which will have a huge impact on the taxi trade:


·         Lee Rigby Memorial Football Game

·         Parklife

·         FA Cup Final

With the threat of potential strikes from the train and the Metrolink services it is envisaged that this could cause havoc for the public and the trade.


GMP have disbanded the What’s App group, this is due to data protection and the unacceptable comments being made. It is felt it is too difficult to regulate. As an alternative for enquiries, it was suggested that drivers use the Bury Neighbourhood Prevention email address . For any incidents out of hours the advice is to call 999 or 111 and also leave a message with the given incident number so it can be followed up.


DL suggested contacting Bristol police, they have a broadcast message system where they send out generic messages to all members in their group, people cannot see who else is in the group and you can only respond to the sender. There is also the telegraph messenger app that could be used.


GMP are updating its computer systems however it this has to go through a consultation first therefore it could take up to two years before anything is in place.


It was asked if GMP are involved in operation Make Safe which is about building a better partnership and relationships between the trade and Police regarding safeguarding. There is something in the planning in Bury and this will be discussed at the Night-time Economy Meeting.


ACTION 1:     PE to investigate what is happening in Preston regarding                                 operation Make Safe and feedback to the group


There is also the anti-fraud scheme running as the trade are seeing quite a lot of pensioners being scammed, the focus is to raise awareness. There is a lot of work being done regarding fraud and scamming through Trading Standards in conjunction with the police.


ACTION 2:     DL to get more information on the anti-fraud scheme and                                 share contacts with PE


It was asked will there be police presence on the Sainsbury’s side of Heaton Park for Parklife as taxis are ranking up outside people’s houses. Also, there are the out-of-town drivers who are charging inflated prices for journeys, this needs to be monitored.


It was asked if the driver arrested for drink driving is a Bury driver and was the police chase on Manchester Road at night-time linked to this.


ACTION 3:     PE to investigate this incident further and confirm the                           details for the group







There is no further update as the scheduled Greater Manchester Licensing meeting this morning where it was going to be discussed was cancelled at short notice, will update after it has been rescheduled.


NI has been undertaking research on CCTV policies across northwest and nationally however this does need to be discussed at GM level as part of the MLS. Will need to see what the outcome of this is to have consistent plans. There has been no update on the funding.


It is felt that there needs to be more time spent on funding as other areas such as Telford and York have received funding therefore there are pots there.


ACTION 4:     MB to investigate the funding received for CCTV by York                                  and Telford Councils


As it is part of MLS there needs to be a consistent approach initially because of the implications it may have in the future for MLS, but this does not mean it cannot be adopted by Bury in the future, the Council do not want Bury drivers to be disadvantaged. There were concerns that at the moment drivers are disadvantaged when complaints are lodged however this was refuted, and it was noted that the Council’s default position is to be objective to all complaints investigating each case thoroughly.


It was also noted that there is a high number of private hire drivers who have reservations and are opposed to using CCTV because of cost and how the data is held.


To discuss this in more detail at a future meeting.





Policy Updates



On the 16th March 2023 the Licensing and Safety Committee Bury took the decision to remove the age limit for vehicles coming onto the fleet for private hire and Hackneys.


Minute of Licensing and Safety Committee:


For new applications for vehicle licences


·         The minimum age requirement for new vehicles coming onto fleet is removed for hackney carriages and private hire vehicles - the current policy in relation to hackney carriage and private hire vehicles has a coming on age (new to fleet) as follows:-

§  PHV – under 5 years on to fleet and 10 years off

§  PHV WAV – under 7 years on to fleet and 15 years off

§  Purpose built HVC – under 7 on to fleet and 15 years off


For vehicles that have been written off the policy has been extended to 1st April 2026. This is for existing vehicles on the fleet any new vehicles they cannot be written off. Applications can be considered for written off vehicles it will be up to the members.


Minute of Licensing and Safety Committee


·         The implementation date for the written-off vehicle standards is extended to 1 April 2026. The amendment of to the written off policy is to permit vehicle licence holders who are currently licensed in Bury with a previously written off vehicle prior to the implementation of the Stage 2 of Common Minimum Standards in November 2021 to continue to be able to licence the vehicle until the 1 April 2026. In order to achieve compliance, the amended policy will state that from 1 April 2025 a vehicle licence will not be renewed if the vehicle has been previously written off. There will be no change to Council Policy relating to new vehicle licence applications in relation to this standard.

Transitional arrangements for existing licence vehicles to be compliant with the age and the emission policy has been extended to 1st April 2026.


Minute of Licensing and Safety Committee


For existing vehicle licence proprietors:


·         That the transitional arrangements in relation to age and emissions standards are extended from 1 April 2024 to 1 April 2026 - This will assist hackney carriage and private hire vehicle owners to transition to the new requirements, whilst allowing them the ability to take advantage of the funding support package (Clean Air funding) once it is available. In order to achieve this compliance date, the amended policy will state that from 1 April 2025 a vehicle licence will not be renewed if the vehicle does not meet the above standards.

The NR3S database became mandatory on 27th April 2023, an email was sent out on 2nd May advising trade representatives and Private Hire Operators of this. In the process of writing to all suspended and revoked drivers in last eight years, which is in the region of 70/80 drivers and subject to any responses the information will be updated. Each decision is made on their own merit however if it meets certain criteria then the legislation cannot be changed as it is a legal requirement. The NR3S was introduced in April 2022 however it has only just been implemented because the database did not have the capability therefore that is why it has taken so long. The new system has been welcomed by the trade.




Enforcement / Service Issues



a.    Parklife

Parklife is taking place on 9th, 10th, 11th June and the following has been put in place:


·         Sainsburys designated PHV pick up/drop off

·         Woodthorpe Hotel designated Hackney Rank

·         TS/Licensing officers will be present throughout 3-day event

The team has also written out to neighbouring authorities and Wolverhampton that the event is taking place and that their drivers will be in the area, Wolverhampton has advised that they will have officers in the area. Assurance was given that officers will be there and if there are unlicensed vehicles or non-Bury licensed vehicles operating details taken, reported and followed up. There will also be a link to the command centre. Need to be mindful that Parklife is held in a Manchester Park and they own the ranks however the fallout is in Bury, the park is historically difficult to police.


ACTION 5:     MB to send additional information to all trade reps and                         PHO’s as a reminder that there will be officers present at                                  Parklife and also information regarding the overcharging by                Private Hire and Hackney Cabs


There is a need to set up PrivatHire base on the outside of the park, this could be done for future years however it is too late for this year.


After every event there is a debrief and suggestions are taken on board and any issues are taken on board and rectified.


b.    Lee Rigby Foundation Charity Event

There is also the Lee Rigby Foundation charity event taking place on 24th June where there will be a significant increase in footfall. An email has been sent out to all Private Hire Operators and trade reps. If the Metro link is on strike on that day then this event should be cancelled as there will be no capacity for people to get home and will increase the incidence of people being charged ridiculous fares. Police are looking at contingences. Have written to other licensing authorities to write to their trades advising them that officers will be in the area. The LA can take action against them and prosecute.





Specific Items for Discussion



a.    Hackney Carriage / Private Hire driver’s badges

At the moment the Council are tied into a contract where the supplier does not provide the credit card style licences.


There have been complaints that the chains for the present licenses are rubbing and choking however assurance have been given that they are designed to break as they are safety chains. When the current contract is nearing it’s expiry date in a years’ time other options will be explored, looking at all options that are available out there.


ACTION 6:     MB / BT will give consideration in respect of officers                             attending an exhibition in Milton Keynes to see exactly                                     what products are available so they are better informed                                    when looking for a new supplier for licenses


b.    GM Clean Air Plan

GM have published a new case for a new investment led GM clean air plan with a non-charging Clean Air Zone. This was submitted to Government in July 2022 and in January 2023 the government responded by asking for additional evidence to support Greater Manchester’s case. 


We have submitted initial evidence showing how investment in zero-emission buses will help GM meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide on the A58 Bolton Road in Bury with the launch of regulated bus services in Wigan and Bolton.


Greater Manchester leaders do not believe a charging Clean Air Zone is necessary. However, government has asked GM to provide modelling to understand how our case for an investment-led, non-charging Clean Air Plan performs (in terms of delivering compliance with legal nitrogen dioxide levels) against the ‘benchmark’ of a charging Clean Air Zone in central Manchester and Salford. We expect to provide the additional evidence, which requires detailed modelling, to government by the end of June 2023. Once we have had full, formal government feedback on our Clean Air Plan following the submission of this additional evidence, we will consider timescales for a public consultation on the plan.


The £120m in government funding to help people upgrade to compliant vehicles will remain in place to support implementation of a new Plan. The details of how funding packages will work will be finalised once the new plan is approved.


The rapid electric vehicle charge points for taxis are now all installed, but not operational. Whitefield Park and Ride has power, but Foundry and Trinity Street still need to be powered up. These sites are all programmed to go live and be available for use in Summer 2023. They will allow 2 vehicles to charge at the same time. 


The buses have received increased funding for their vehicles this has not happened for the taxi trade therefore it is envisaged that if the support is not there it will put people out of business.


Taxi drivers cannot afford electric vehicles and the running costs, and they do not have the confidence to buy them.




Trade Agenda Items




a.    Use of bus lanes / bus gates where applicable for private hire

DL has written an article on this subject, it was acknowledged that there are differences between Hackney Cabs and Private Hire vehicles however once they have taken on their passengers it is part of their conditions that they should take shortest route. As Hackney Cabs are allowed to use the bus lanes Private Hire and their passengers are disadvantaged as they are not allowed to use the bus lanes. This is creating a situation where Private Hire vehicles are having to massively divert.


ACTION 7:     BT to investigate the use of bus lanes further and bring a                                 response back to the group and to feed it into clean air                                     group as it fits in with their agenda


Any information received will be passed to Parking Services and TFGM.


b.    Reduction of vehicle signage, (ideas for consideration to be presented)

This issue has been raised several times by a number of members. Mathew Freckleton from Uber is in full support of removing all operator signage, from a NPHTA perspective they are not in support of this. However, they fully support the trade in that the sheer volume of signage on the vehicles is making them a target for ASB. It was suggested to incorporate a larger tax disc holder instead of vehicle stickers / operator signage on the front passenger side, this will indicate that the correct vehicle is in attendance. This will ensure that there is identification, but the vehicles will not be targets.


It is acknowledged that the bonnet sticker is a safety issue; and Bury Council have made the decision to not implement them.


Stickers need to be approved and action needs to be taken if they do not meet standards, assurance was given that this will happen if identified.


It was agreed that this item will be revisited at a future meeting.


ACTION 8:     BT / MB to look at the issues surrounding the use of                             stickers


c.     Simplification of the knowledge test (create a more multiple-choice format to simplify the process for applicants)

BT has looked at the process in Bury, of which one is multiple choice, and is satisfied with the current format. They want assurance that if a sat nav fails then the driver can complete the journey for their passengers.


Drivers do want reforms however it is not something that the Council is willing to change at the moment.


Drivers feel that the testing system is too lengthy, putting drivers off registering in Bury.


d.    Re-introduction of a Licensing Reception


The trade asked for the ability to apply for their licences online, COVID then forced the Council to bring in online solutions.


Also, the Let’s Do It strategy is committed to improving the digital connectivity whilst promoting inclusion. 


All information is on the website therefore if anyone members are struggling or have any issues, they should be connecting with Naz Islam who is there to help, as it stands the Council will not be going back to a licensing reception.


Have a reduced reception area for those people who cannot navigate the online system.








The group were asked to put any further questions or queries in writing.




Date and Time of next meeting


Thurs  6th July 2023  5pm – 7pm via Teams         




Supporting documents: