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Greater Manchester Combined Authority calls on government to assist in creating new law banning out-of-area taxis

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority is "keen" to work with the Department for Transport (DfT) to devise a new regulatory device that would legally ban taxis that are not licensed by one of the ten Greater Manchester local authorities.

A report from the combined authority's Air Quality Administration Committee, which is set to be delivered to the Secretary of State today, said that out-of-area taxis enable the evasion of "fair, safe and democratically determined local licensing standards, which undermines public safety as well as local measures to progressively improve up driver and vehicle standards".

The recommendation is part of the combined authority's Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan (GM CAP), a programme receiving government funding as part of national efforts to improve air quality and meet legal limits.

The original plan was set to be implemented this spring but was delayed due to concerns over its implementation.

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As a result, the Government asked for the new plan to be laid out by today (1 July 2022).

The Committee report detailing the new plan states that "one key barrier preventing Greater Manchester local authorities from being able to effectively oversee the progressive improvement of private hire vehicle (and therefore emission) standards, is the ongoing ability of vehicle owners / drivers to be licensed 'out of area'".

Over the past three years, the ten Greater Manchester local authorities have worked together to adopt Minimum Licensing Standards to increase public safety, including driver standards, rationalising age and emissions policies and livery on vehicles, the report added. "However, the effect of out-of-area licensing has been to undermine Greater Manchester's approach, and to negatively impact public safety while doing nothing to improve public confidence in a well-regulated local trade.

"Accordingly, Greater Manchester is looking to secure, via Greater Manchester's Devolution Trailblazer bid, a commitment from Government to devise an appropriate regulatory approach that will legally require that all private hire journeys within the Greater Manchester boundary must be undertaken by a driver and vehicle which are both licensed by one of the ten Greater Manchester local authorities."

The report noted that the effect would be to ensure that private hire operators with a license to operate in one or more of the ten Greater Manchester local authorities will be required to serve any intra Greater Manchester journey request with a locally licensed driver and locally licensed vehicle.

Currently, out-of-area operation enables "the evasion of fair, safe and democratically determined local licensing standards, which undermines public safety as well as local measures to progressively improve up driver and vehicle standards," the report continued.

In context of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan, the authority said the ability to provide local licensing standards would help to improve the emission standards of taxis operating in Greater Manchester whilst providing incentives to upgrade non-compliant vehicles.

Adam Carey

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