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September's Taxi and Private Hire Trade Consultation

Please find below a link to the notes from the Taxi and Private Hire Trade Consultation with Southampton City Council which took place last month. This meeting was attended by Ian Hall - Chairman of the Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association who brought up a number of concerns and contributed to the discussion of important issues concerning our trade at the moment.

Please follow the link below for full details of the meeting:

Posted in News by Admin on 27/11/2018

Clean Air Zone Update from Southampton City Council

Please find below a press release from Southampton City Council regarding the Clean air in our City:

Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council are working together to submit separate business cases to Government to improve air quality. Over a period of 12 weeks Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council consulted the public and key stakeholders on proposals for a Clean Air Zone. Thank you to all those that took part.

There were 9,299 responses to the consultation including responses to the questionnaire, letters, emails and social media comments. Feedback is now being thoroughly analysed and evaluated by Southampton City Council’s Research and Insight team.

As well as the consultation, Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council have commissioned extensive transport and air quality modelling work from independent consultants to inform a technical assessment that will be an integral part of each council’s clean air business case.

New Forest District Council will submit their business case to Government by 31 December 2018 for approval. Prior to this their business case will be discussed at a meeting of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel on 13 December 2018, and then a decision will be taken at Cabinet on 18 December 2018.

Southampton City Council will submit their business case to Government by 31 January 2019 for approval. Prior to this their business case will be discussed at a meeting of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel on 16 January 2019, and then a decision will be taken at a special Cabinet meeting on 22 January 2019.  In order to provide maximum space for stakeholders and interested groups to attend, the special Cabinet meeting will be held in the Southampton Guildhall, rather than the council chamber.

The delay to Southampton City Council’s business case submission has been caused due to the amount of analysis required following the exceptional volume of consultation feedback, changes to baseline data provided through the consultation that has impacted on the air quality modelling, and feedback that has promoted further exploration into social and economic impacts. It is important that all these elements are given the attention they deserve, and this takes time.

Despite the delay to the business case submission it is anticipated that there will be no impact on the delivery of compliance by 2020. The focus continues to be on the delivery of legal limits of nitrogen dioxide within Southampton in the shortest possible time.

Councillor Steve Leggett, Cabinet Member - Green City, Southampton City Council said:

“Clean air is vital to the health and wellbeing of people in the Southampton and the New Forest, and the huge response to the consultation shows the strength of feeling. Our shared priority is to reduce dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide to within legal limits in the shortest time possible. I’d like to thank local residents and organisations for taking the time to share their thoughts and ideas. The consultation feedback, in conjunction with the technical assessment results, will jointly inform the business case we submit.”

Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council continue to work together and the consultation results will be released on 3 December 2018 on the council’s websites in advance of both Cabinet meetings. 

Posted in News by Admin on 27/11/2018

A Note on Behalf of our Association:

Did you as drivers, hackney carriage or private hire - fill in the Southampton City Council questionnaire or submit your thoughts and ideas on clean air in the twelve week consultation time frame? (if not why not?)

To meet the objectives of the council, buses, coaches, HGVs, taxis and private hire vehicles, that do not meet the engine emission standards of Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol will be charged to enter Southampton. That is £100 per day for buses, coaches and HGVs and £12.50 for taxis and PHVs.  

We are diligently working with SCC and other groups to stop these charges and to allow alternative fuels such as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Hydrogen/Petrol and Shell's product called Gas To Liquid (GTL) We want these accepted by the council, the same as hybrid/electric or full electric vehicles which are accepted at the moment.

We would encourage you as sole traders to familiarise yourself with Southampton City Council's proposals and the effect it would have on your business.

I am not going to comment on what is happening in London, we should at the moment concern ourselves with Southampton.

This council has been directed to deliver to the Secretary of State their Air Quality Plan and it must be implemented by the end of 2019. Defra (Department of Farming and Rural Affairs) who are in charge of air quality are considering after a consultation period, introducing a centralised database to enable the identification of all taxis and PHVs operating in England and Wales regardless of where they have been licensed.

Ian Hall - Chairman

Posted in News by Admin on 30/10/2018

Port of Southampton to Become Home to Britain's First LNG Powered Vessel

Bigger ships and more passengers will soon be welcomed at the Port of Southampton thanks to a £12million upgrade, part of the city's £1billion 5 year investment programme. In addition to catering for the growing demand for cruise ships to dock here in Southampton, the programme will also enable the city to become the proud home to the very first British LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) powered vessel.

The 180,000 ton ship, which has been named Iona, will feature 4 swimming pools, 17 restaurants and will be able to accommodate up to 5200 guests. The use of LNG as opposed to diesel makes the vessel more environmentally friendly than previous cruise ships and marks a positive move towards less polluting vessels.

The Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association support the use of this alternative fuel in our city and look forward to seeing the continual growth and development of our city port which is northern Europe's leading cruise port.

You can read more about this news here.

Posted in News by Admin on 30/10/2018

Urgent Electricity Works - Western Esplanade - Next Three Weeks

Southampton City Council Highway Department are keeping us in the picture with regards to urgent electricity works (Oil filled HV cable is leaking) taking place on Western Esplanade which began Tuesday night and are expected to last around 3 weeks. The works are to take place 24 hours a day. The Highway Department have forwarded the following information about the way these works will affect traffic in this area:

  • All 3 lanes (including slip road) heading West will be closed from 20 metres prior to the signals
  • Westbound traffic will be moved on to the opposite side of the road around the traffic island and then filtered back on to the correct side of the road – This will allow vehicles to make the left turn on to Western Esplanade towards National Express or continue straight on the A3024 towards Millbrook (the left turn has been tracked and has been confirmed that it is feasible for buses and HGV’s)
  • Currently the Eastbound and Westbound traffic runs at the same but during this period the signals will be separated in to 2 phases due to the Westbound traffic being on the wrong side of the road.

Posted in News by Admin on 11/10/2018

SHPHA Response to The Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Task and Finish Report

The Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Task and Finish report published last month sets out the Task and Finish Group's recommendations on taxi and private hire licensing. The report highlights the disarray that the taxi and private industry finds itself in, in particular caused by the 2015 Clause 11 Deregulation Act Private Hire Vehicle Sub-Contracting.

The SHPHA would ideally like to see Clause 11 repealed completely. However, we understand that this process if ever enacted would take far too long to implement.

We feel The Law Commissions report on the two tier system of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles which took some considerable years to produce, but was put to one side when finalised, should have been adhered to. 

We shall have to wait and see what will happen in regards to the Task and Finish Report?!   

To see the full Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Task and Finish report follow this link.

 

Posted in News by Admin on 08/10/2018

Drone Aerial Survey of The Quays Roof - 10 October until 12 October

The Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association would like to share the following message from Balfour Beatty Living Places working in partnership with Southampton City Council with our members regarding a drone aerial survey of The Quays roof between 10th October and 12th October:

As part of our role to maintain Southampton City Council highways and structures we are carrying out a drone survey and scan of the roof of The Quays Swimming and Diving complex on 10 October and on 11 & 12 October subject to requirement.

We wanted to make you aware in the event that you get reports of the drone flying in the area. The drone will only be looking down at the roof of The Quays. It will require to make several passes and closer inspections of specific aspects of the building’s roof structure. The people carrying out the inspections are trained and the pilot of the drone has the appropriate licence, permits and insurance to carry out the drone flight in this location.

 

Posted in News by Admin on 08/10/2018

Southampton Clean Air Zones - Our Proposal

Please see below Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Associations' response to the Clean Air Consultation Period 21st June - 13th September 2018:

There are 16 chapters to the Clean Air Report which is approximately 569 pages in number.

According to the study a charging scheme is needed in Southampton for the most polluting buses, coaches, taxis and heavy goods vehicles that do not meet the engine emission standards of Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol.  

The shipping industry is mentioned with regards to ship to shore plug-in facilities which Associated British Ports (ABP) have investigated and are monitoring costs.  ABP have already published their Port Air Quality Strategy Plans and have introduced electric vehicles, charging points and many other improvements, more than a year ahead of the government's schedule and we as an association would commend them for taking the initiative.

The taxi and private hire trade in Southampton and Eastleigh were awarded from DEFRA (Department of Farming and Rural Affairs) a miserly grant of £258,000 towards an incentive for proprietors to purchase a full electric/hybrid/petrol vehicle with limitations placed within the grant.  This grant proposal is ill thought out and Southampton City Council have not included the many alternative fuels that are in the market place today, and although dispensation is going to be given to hackney carriage and private hire vehicles that have the facility to convey disabled persons in wheelchairs, we as a trade association have made it perfectly clear to the SCC's clean air team that full electric or hybrid/petrol wheelchair vehicles, for example the Nissan NV200 or the LEVC purpose built London style taxi are far too expensive to purchase, with no dealer network in Southampton to cope with warranty or servicing matters.  The ideal disabled accessible taxi would be a Euro 6 diesel model with Ad Blue, but no grant is available so the fleet of ageing disabled vehicles is deteriorating rapidly.

However the government have provided a grant of £2,677,835 to four Southampton bus companies which is part of the Clean Bus Technology Fund (CBTF) to retro-fit buses with technology which will reduce harmful emissions.  145 buses will be fitted with a selective Catalytic reduction device, although the Southampton bus companies are all privately owned.

The latest figures released on Southampton bus movements give 60 buses an hour from the lower area of Shirley to the top end.  120 buses an hour from the top of Above Bar Street, crossing Civic Centre junction (New Road) to continue to lower part of the City.  

At a meeting last year we attended with Councillor Hammond and Mr Guppy we remarked about the congestion and pollution caused by buses in our City and mentioned importantly the congestion at the bus stop outside West Quay shopping centre in Portland Terrace.  This bus stop is jutting out from the pavement and on some days the traffic is queued back to West Street - all of this causes traffic pollution which is not caused by HGV, taxis or private hire vehicles. (In front of this bus stop is an area that could be used for buses to pull in for passengers to use)

Various other bus stops are badly situated which cause severe tailbacks of traffic but the council seem to be oblivious of this fact and having raised this subject many times at council meetings, they do not want to make changes.  Four people in a taxi or private hire vehicle is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than using a bus. We transport school children (school contract jobs) persons to and from hospitals, disabled and elderly people and the night-time economy relies on our professional trade when buses are not available to transport people to their desired destinations?

Let us look at the clean air zone framework that is included in the Clean Air Report - This framework sets out the principles for the operation of clean air zones in England, it provides the expected approach to be taken by local authorities when implementing and operating a clean air zone.  

Paragraph 56, page 13, states local authorities should consider the range of stakeholders.  Local firms including taxi and private hire firms, freight and delivery companies, schools, charities and community groups.

Paragraph 58, page 13, states clean air zones should consider impact of traffic from the strategic road network and have discussions with Highways England.

Paragraph 74, page 16, states to develop park and ride schemes, seeking to harmonise strong, low emissions standards in taxi licences with neighbouring authorities.




Paragraph 77, page 15, states suitable infrastructure as part of evaluating alternative fuels, for example, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or liquefied and compressed natural gas (CNG)

Paragraph 80, page 17, states to evaluate potential solutions that improve the natural environment.  For example, planting of additional trees and vegetation to help reduce pollution.

Paragraph 84, page 18, states the level of support for alternative fuels will depend on the individual business case and might take into account elements such as opportunities for alternative emission reduction mechanisms, current fleet and how it is used.  Some alternative energy sources are likely to have the greatest benefit in adapting older more polluting vehicles.

Paragraph 86, page 18, states the action local authorities could consider if wishing to support alternative energy sources.  This could include consideration of fuels used in local authority fleets facilitating refuelling infrastructure through the planning process and gathering evidence of environmental benefits.

Paragraph 110, page 23, states local authorities may also wish to consider further requirements encouraging the use of alternative fuels such as LPG.

Paragraph 157, page 30, states residents who live in a clean air zone should be given an additional time to change their vehicles (3 years maybe appropriate)

Paragraph 160, page 30, states the Transport Act 2000 requires any excess revenue that may arise from charges above the costs of operation to be re-invested to facilitate local transport policies.  Such charges may not be used as a form of taxation to raise revenue.


All the above paragraphs are relevant for this council to accept alternative fuels.





Equality and Safety Impact Assessment

(as written in the Clean Air Report)

Page 5 Home to School Transport states - will seek to identify opportunities to exempt or relax requirements to support a suitable supply of wheelchair accessible vehicles.  Incentive schemes to be introduced to support the transition to compliant vehicles.

Page 21 Draft Clean Air Zone Outline Business Case, states that although still in draft form taxis (private hire and hackney carriages) undertake a large amount of mileage in this City.  Many taxi owners and operators will be classified as small firms, with many drivers simply owning and operating their vehicles on an individual basis. So the charging level on page 27 of £12.50 a day for taxis and private hire vehicles is absolutely ludicrous, whereas private cars, mini buses, motorcycles, mopeds and LGV's have no charge at all.  Southampton City Council are not going to charge motorists to enter a Clear Air Zone (CAZ) because they do not want to have a financial impact on the retail industry.

Air Pollution

Asthma UK, the leading asthma charity was formed in1927.  Two thirds of people who die from asthma attacks could have survived if they had received better basic care.  This includes getting a written asthma plan which explains how to manage their asthma on a day-to-day basis on what to do if their condition gets worse.  They should also have their asthma condition reviewed every year to ensure that they are on the correct medication and check they are taking them properly.

The National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) Report, 19 recommendations were made which would help to reduce avoidable risk of deaths from asthma.  Only 1 recommendation has been implemented, that every person with asthma has an annual review, and only 70% of people receive this. We find this unacceptable.

3.6 million people across the UK are not getting routine care for their asthma condition so to put the blame on traffic emissions has been greatly exaggerated.

Particulate Matter, Tyre, Brake Dust etc,.

In a report published 26th July 2018 from DEFRA, they are now investigating that more needs to be done to address the impact tyres and brakes have on air quality and the environment.  Tiny particles are released from our brakes and tyres which contribute to air pollution. These tiny pieces of particulate matter, for example dust and soot that comes from general wear and tear includes clutch and road surface areas.  Areas that have high traffic density cause brakes to be used more. Some Southampton roads are congested due to the bad location of bus stops, the incessant traffic lights, these factors contribute to brakes being used more often.

Whilst motorways are kept moving at a different speed, this constitutes lower braking frequency and less particulate matter.  

None of these factors seem not to be mentioned in the Clean Air Report, which is misleading.

To summarise our association's response, it is as follows :-

  • Highways England, the government owned company charged with operating, maintaining and improving England's motorways and major A roads should be more diligent of badly polluted vehicles that are using these highways.  Through the camera network on motorways, these vehicles could be identified before they enter a clean air zone, namely Southampton.

  • The time scale that SCC have given to the hackney carriage and private hire fleet to bring significant changes is not going to be long enough.  On category A and B vehicles, nine and twelve years according to our licensing conditions, a vehicle that has to be renewed under the nine year period, should be allowed to run the full lifespan, the same with a vehicle that is allowed twelve years.

  • From this report you can see our annoyance at the money that has been given to bus companies and the priority that seems to be given to them by SCC.  We understand that buses are essential to the transport needs of any City but we do feel marginalised.

  • Alternative fuels - Councillor Hammond at the clean air meeting 19th June 2018 said he would consider our proposal but nothing has materialised as yet.  Alternative fuels apart from electric and hybrid should include hydrogen vehicles, CNG, LNG and Shell UK GTL fuel.

  • Our 'Park and Ride' suggestion should be followed up to cut the amount of traffic entering our City.

  • Badly situated clean air zones (CAZ's) will put some businesses in a bad financial situation and may not even improve air quality.

  • Charging schemes will add a financial burden to the taxi and private hire trade, in fact, we believe that no vehicles should be charged and SCC need to implement different ideas as we have suggested in our report.

  • The data that SCC has released on emissions is questionable.

  • Pot holes, bad road surfaces, road humps (which Michael Gove, Environmental Minister, would suggest local councils should remove) come under the remit of Balfour Beatty.  They should take responsibility on an environmental level.

  • Redbridge and Millbrook roundabout need urgent infrastructure investment which would cut pollution.  We believe from a recent highways meeting that Balfour Beatty will be attending to these matters, including also the Thornhill Park Road/Hinkler Road  bottleneck.



We look forward to SCC's reply to our report and although we support 'Clean Air', at what cost?



Ian Hall

Chairman of Southampton hackney and Private Hire Association

 

Posted in News by Admin on 13/09/2018

No Fair Increase for Southampton Taxi Trade Since 2014

Earlier this week the government announced the biggest pay rise in over 10 years for over a million public sector workers including teachers, police and the armed forces. But did you know that the Southampton taxi trade has not had a fare increase since 2014? 

When putting in our proposal for a fare increase, we have to follow an antiquated system whereby firstly a proposed fare increase is presented to the Southampton licensing councillors and we are then cross examined by councillors as to why we want a fare increase  - which is slightly bizarre! This system goes back to the 1847 Town and Police Clauses Act where fare increases were decided by commissionaires. In fact, the whole fare structure may even go back to the days of Oliver Cromwell in June 1654 who first licensed the taxi trade in London!

Unfortunately, we seem to be one of the only professions who have to go in front of a panel to decide our fate. Despite this, Southampton City Council still expect us to spend vast sums of money to purchase electric/hybrid vehicles to comply with the clean air policy but will not consider alternative fuel vehicles with lower costs. The whole system is ridiculous.

Posted in News by Admin on 27/07/2018

Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association - Supporting the Southampton Taxi Trade

The Southampton Hackney Association have been supporting Hackney Carriage taxi drivers since 2001 and our recent change to include Private Hire drivers means we can provide information and help to even more self-employed drivers working in the city of Southampton. 

We regularly consult with Southampton City Council regarding issues which affect the taxi trade and are affiliated to the Associated British Ports enabling us to keep up to date with the latest news relevant to the industry - whether you are a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire taxi driver.

The website serves as a particularly useful resource for current and potential members - here you can read the latest news about our association and wider issues affecting the trade. We are proud to have had over 550 users of the website this month alone!

Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association welcome new members - if you are interested in joining please come and visit the 'Join Us' page of our website here.

Posted in News by Admin on 05/07/2018

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