Denbighshire’s licensing committee has launched a consultation into allowing older taxi vehicles to continue to be used, so long as they meet strict maintenance checks.
At a licensing committee meeting this week, councillors were asked to consider raising the existing maximum age for both new and renewal applications of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles.
Since 2017, all new-to-fleet vehicles must be no more than five years old and any vehicle reaching 12 years old must be replaced or removed. A five-year period of grace was given for already-licensed vehicles which had “grandfather rights”. This grace period ended in July 2022, but was extended for a further year until July 2023.
But councillors questioned whether the age of vehicles was important if they were properly maintained. Cllr Martyn Hogg said if a vehicle was well maintained, it should still be safe to be in use.
“It could have done 500,000 miles, but if it’s been well maintained, it could be, or should be, better than a car that’s done 50,000 miles but has never had a service,” he said. “Has there ever been a serious incident because of a car’s age?”
Cllr Bobby Feeley added: “Cars are so much better than they were many years ago, aren’t they? Mechanics are good, and, they can go on for many miles now if they are maintained and looked after thoroughly, so whether or not we do need to look at it.”
The committee decided to defer the time limit on ‘grandfather rights’ for a further 12 months until July 2024. The committee also authorised officers to instigate a consultation process, looking at increasing the maximum age of taxis in use from 12 years and instead introducing a strict maintenance regime.
The consultation will also look at allowing new taxi vehicles to be introduced to the county’s fleet if they are under eight years old. A decision will be taken in December.