Draft regulations have been just been laid in Parliament which place a duty on licensing authorities in England and Wales to provide certain information on licensed taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) to a central database
The Air Quality (Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles Database) (England and Wales) Regulations 2019 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2019/9780111177969/contents
Subject to parliamentary debate it is envisaged that the regulations will come into force on 1 April or shortly afterwards. They will require all licensing authorities in England and Wales to provide to a central portal on a minimum weekly basis, certain information about the taxis and PHVs that they have licensed. This will include as a minimum, the Vehicle Registration Number, start and expiry date of the vehicle licence, whether the vehicle is a taxi or PHV and the name of the licensing authority. A database will then be created from this information. Funding will be provided by central government in line with the new burdens principle.
This database will form part of the infrastructure that government is developing to support the introduction of charging Clean Air Zones by some local authorities from 2020 as part of their local plans to ensure compliance with statutory nitrogen dioxide limits in the shortest possible time.
Further guidance will be issued on the interaction between licensing authorities and the database along with the processes that will be in place to ensure that the storage and use of data is in line with the General Data Protection Regulation.
OK – so the Government is now keeping national records of all licensed taxis/PHVs. As usual we’re the sitting targets. What about the bus and coach sector? What about lorries and logistics? What about White Van Man? What about the average motorist, a lot of whom are driving fume-belching old cars?
This Clean Air charging is coming in – there’s no doubt about that. All we can do is to carry on doing our job, and to raise awareness of the unfair bias shown toward our industry. That takes some lobbying, and you can count on PHTM and the National Private Hire and Taxi Association for that!