On Tuesday, the United Trade Action Group (UTAG) lost their legal challenge that proposed Uber's London operating licence, a 15 month probationary permit that was given in June, was granted by a biased judge.
The temporary license was granted by Chief Magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, who stepped down from Uber-related cases in August when it was discovered that her husband was an advisor to an investment company who had shares in Uber.
Lawyers acknowleged she was not aware of the link but claimed she should have 'checked for any potential conflicts of interest.'
The claims were rejected in the High Court with Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett commenting the connections suggested by them fell 'well short of evidence.'
We are disappointed that the United Trade Action Group (UTAG) lost this case. This was going to be a difficult fight to challenge the establishment in the High Court. The London taxi trade is still the number one taxi service in the world, we can only offer words of support to UTAG from our association.
Online scams aimed at motorists are on the increase with a shocking 1275 reports to the DVLA regarding suspected vehicle tax scams in a three month period last year. Action Fraud say:
"We know that fraudsters are increasingly using more sophisticated ways to trick their victims, and so it is important that members of the public think about their online behaviour and ensure that they do everything they can to protect themselves."
Some of the most common scams that affect motorists online are:
- Text messages, claiming to be from the DVLA, asking for credit card details.
- Websites which enable you to apply for vehicle tax or driving licences and then add on an extra fee.
- Identity theft through the sharing of driving licences or car documents on social media.
- Websites offering telephone connection to DVLA contact centre through a premium rate number.
Earlier in the week, on Safer Internet Day, the DVLA published 7 tips for motorists to stay safe online - why not take a read here?
Did you know that the five cities targeted by Defra (Department of Environmental and Rural Affairs) for Clean Air Zones in the UK are Southampton, Derby, Nottingham, Leeds and Birmingham, and that Southampton is the only one of them with a Port?
ABP (Associated British Ports) of Southampton have also published their Clean Air Zone for the Port and are in agreement with Southampton City Council to become involved in the Green City Charter scheme which goes beyond Defra's requirements for clean air.
The taxi and private hire trade welcome the fact that the proposed £12.50 per day charging zone for taxis and private hires will now not take place, although, some of trade's vehicles will have to improve on their emissions.
We as a trade group look forward to working with the council on this matter.
You can read the latest Clean Air Update from Southampton City Council here.
Following the Clean Air Zone public consultation, Southampton City Council have promised '...a leap forward and bold new actions to tackling air pollution..'
Their latest clean air update included details of their proposal which would enable the city to comply to EU limit value for nitrogen dioxide by 2020 without the need for a charging zone.
Work on reducing nitrogen dioxide pollution over the last 3 years which include introducing cleaner city buses, cleaner fuels being used at the port and heavy investment in the cycling infrastructure have already reduced pollution by 24% in the most polluted areas and further measures proposed regarding the port, HGVs buses and taxis hope to increase this figure further.
Proposed measures aimed at taxis include; expanding the current low emission taxi scheme to support more operators, revising taxi licensing conditions to remove the most polluting vehicles and offering a 3 month 'try before you buy' scheme for electric taxis.
You can read the full clean air update from Southampton City Council here.
The Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association would like to wish all our taxi customers a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year! When using taxis over the Christmas period, please make sure the vehicle you get into is licensed and for extra peace of mind take a note of the Southampton City Council plate number found on the rear of the vehicle - all Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles will have one displayed.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.