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    Report No: G.8 - 05 December 2001 - Final Copy

    Cabinet
    Licensing of Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPVs) for use as Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles
    Report of Health & Environmental Health Panel

    For Decision

    Purpose of Report:

    To consider the recommendations of the Health & Environmental Health Panel regarding the seating capacity of Multi Purpose Vehicles when licenced as Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles.


    Recommendations:

    That Cabinet approve the recommendations set out in section 6 of the report.


    Resourcing Implications:

    There are no resourcing implications for the Council.


    Body of Report:

    1.0 Introduction

    1.1 The purpose of this report is to provide Cabinet with information regarding the seating capacity of Multi Purpose Vehicles when licenced as Taxis and for Private Hire and to consider a recommendation to limit the number of seats for passenger safety at the discretion of the Head of Health & Environmental Health.

    2.0 Background

    2.1 The Council is the Licensing Authority for Hackney Carriages (Taxis) and Private Hire Vehicles as specified under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

    2.2 The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 allows a Local Authority to attach to the grant of a licence such conditions as they may consider reasonably necessary. Delegated authority exists for the Head of Health & Environmental Health but standard conditions applied have to be approved by Members.

    2.3. Historically, because of the variety of Multi Purpose Transport available such vehicles were licenced with the Council on application from the operator with the full complement of passenger seats. This was commonly 7.

    2.4. This practice continued until early this year when it became apparent that if some vehicles were licenced to carry 7 passengers this in effect trapped rear-seated passengers in the vehicle without any means of escape directly to an exit door. In reality some passengers relied on those in the row in front to move their seats to allow them to exit. In an emergency situation this may not be possible

    2.5. In East Hampshire there are approximately 12 MPVs currently licenced for taxis and private hire. The operators were advised in writing of the Council' s concerns about this matter and that they would be allowed to continue to be licenced for the maximum number of passengers until 1st December 2001 whilst the situation was reviewed.

    2.6. The majority had already accepted that we would probably reduce the licenced seating capacity of the vehicles by one. Some of them were already operating without an extra seat as they rarely used it. Only one operator has expressed strong views over the proposed reduction in seating.

    3.0 Diagram of Vehicles

    The diagram attached to the report illustrates one of the types of seating arrangements.

    4.0 Safety Issues

    4.1. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Road Safety Advisory Group recently investigated the safety of access and egress in Multi Purpose Vehicles that were used as passenger carrying vehicles.Their conclusions were:

    'It is the Society' s view that all vehicles designed or used for public transport, and in this category we include both Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles, should provide adequate and ready means of access and egress to each and every seat.Thus the use of MPV' s regardless of their size or configuration should enable each and any passenger to exit from the vehicle without recourse to other passengers leaving their seats, or for other seats to be stowed before the exit is made available. '

    5.0 Other Local Authorities-Policy

    5.1 There is no conformity between Local Authorities regarding the licenced seat capacity of Multi Purpose Vehicles. The majority have no written policy but use their discretion. However, six neighbouring Authorities do require the removal of a seat to allow safe access and egress from the rear.

    5.2 The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Licensing Officers Group has set up a sub-committee to review and seek conformity with vehicle licensing conditions throughout the South and the issues surrounding MPVs will be examined as part of the review.  East Hampshire District Council has a representative on the committee. It is not expected that the group will be in a position to make recommendations on these issues for at least the next twelve months. In the meantime there is concern that users of some MPVs may be exposed to an unacceptable risk to their safety. It is therefore proposed that the existing standard conditions for taxis and private hire be amended in advance of the review to address this issue.

    5.3 Further support for the need to address this issue comes from a Consultation Document under the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 issued by the Public Carriage Office London. The document sets out the proposals for the licensing of private hire vehicles and outlines the regulations and conditions, which that Licensing Authority proposes to make.Seating arrangements will be expected to allow for easy ingress and egress of passengers and vehicles that require removal of some of the seating (tipping, sliding etc) to allow access to the remaining seats will not satisfy this requirement.

    5.4 This issue was considered by the Health & Environmental Health Panel on 14th November 2001 and they agreed with the measures proposed.

    6.0 Recommendations

    6.1 The Health & Environmental Health Panel on14th November 2001 recommended that pending the outcome of the review of vehicle licensing conditions, which could take some time to formulate and agree, this Authority should seek to protect public safety by limiting the licenced seating capacity of MPVs to allow safe access and egress for rear seat passengers. This would be at the discretion of Head of Health & Environmental Health through the Council' s licensing officer on inspection of individual vehicles.

    7.0 Resourcing Implications

    7.1 There are no resourcing implications.

    Contact Officers:

    Angela Stone Health & Safety/Licensing Manager 01730 234311

    angela_stone@easthants.gov.uk

    Angela Howes Licencing and Regulation Officer 01730 234094

    angela_howes@easthants.gov.uk


    Consultation:


    Background Papers:


    Documents for Download:Click here for Picture.lwp (332 Kb)
    Click here for Picture.pdf (18 Kb)

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    Related Documents for this Meeting:

    Meeting Agenda

    Report - (Planning Review : 2001)
    Report - (SPORTS CENTRE MAINTENANCE RESERVE)
    Report - (Foot & Mouth Hardship Relief - Sturt Meats Ltd, Blacknest)
    Report - (EAST HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL (OFF STREET PARKING PLACES ORDER) 2001.)
    Report - (RECOMMENDATIONS FROM DEVELOPMENT POLICY PANEL)
    Report - (TOWARDS A CORPORATE ACTION PLAN (CAP) FOR EAST HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL)
    Report - (Revenue Budget 2002/03)
    Report - (Licensing of Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPVs) for use as Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles)
    Report - (PENNS PLACE - USE OF MAINTENANCE RESERVE)
    Report - (Alternate Weekly Collection for Refuse/Recycling )
    Report - (Implementing Electronic Government (IEG))
    Report - (Capital Programme Update 2001/2 to 2004/5 )