Labour Councillors in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk have opposed changes to new licensing conditions for the Borough’s Private Hire and Hackney Carriage vehicles.
Currently if a licensed driver accrues 7 DVLA points, this triggers an appearance before the Council’s Licensing Panel where the situation is discussed and sanctions can be applied. The new conditions would see the points total increase to 10 before the Panel considers the matter. The Labour Group are concerned that this could lead to drivers who have accrued almost as many points as to receive a DVLA ban (currently 12) continuing to drive without having to attend a Borough Council Licensing Panel.
Speaking at the Full Council Meeting on 30 June 2011, Labour Group Leader, Councillor David Collis, said, “As the licensing authority, the Borough Council has a duty of care to ensure the safety of all passengers using any taxi services in West Norfolk. By allowing drivers to accrue up to 10 points before even being given a warning we consider that the Borough Council is not fulfilling this obligation.”
“The vast majority of licensed drivers keep within the bounds of the law and we do not want their good reputation to suffer as a result of any adverse publicity if say, a driver with 9 DVLA points was involved in an accident whilst speeding and it was later revealed that the Borough Council had not even issued a formal warning. The present system works well and the only reasons we can see for change is one of cost savings.”
Cllr Collis formally proposed that the procedure remain as it is – accruing 7 points would require an appearance at the Panel. A recorded vote was held but the motion was defeated by 37 votes to 15.
After the Council meeting Cllr Collis said “It is a regrettable outcome but the Labour Group of Councillors will maintain a watching brief and re visit the matter if standards of safety appear to be declining.”
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Note to editors
In the past 2 years, 9 drivers (3% of the total number of licensed drivers) have appeared before the Licensing & Appeals Panel for having accrued 7 or more DVLA points.
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