To consider a report by the Chief Officer Elections and Regulatory which presents the Annual Report of Entertainment Licensing and Taxi and Private Hire Licensing.
The Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory presented the Licensing Annual Report for 2021.
The Principal Licensing Officer, Entertainment Licensing together with the Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Manager presented the report.
The report covered the 2021 calendar year for both Entertainment and Taxi & Private Hire Licensing. Issues highlighted from the report included the following:
· Coronavirus Pandemic
· Business Support
· Office Arrangements
· Licensing Processing
· Gambling Statistics
· Large Casino
· Sex Establishments
· Outdoor Large Events
· Enforcement and Liaison
· Future Projects
Taxi and Private Hire Licensing
· Coronavirus Pandemic
· Vehicle Emissions and Free Licensing Grant
· Enforcement and Compliance
· The year ahead
Entertainment Licensing issues/ queries
Members noted the dramatic reduction in Temporary Events Notices and that complaint handling was also down from previous years, both of which were a direct result of Coronavirus restrictions. However staff had been redeployed to support other areas including the Shielding Helpline and Environmental Health Services.
Members queried if “place shaping” would feed into Cumulative Impact Reviews.
In responding the Principal Licensing Officer said that consideration would be given to all data.
Taxi and Private Hire Licensing issues/queries:
Members were informed that the Coronavirus Pandemic had impacted significantly on the Taxi and Private Licensing Service: 75% of taxi and private hire licensing staff were working from home, there had been a significant reduction in the number of taxi journeys across the city and in excess of 700 taxi and private hire drivers were on furlough.
Members queried what kind of support was being provided to drivers and operators.
The Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Manager said a lot more of the services were now available on-line, some policies were being relaxed (the fitting of temporary driver’s screens) with others becoming automated: driver renewals and vehicle MOT certificates. Members were informed that the trade had also adapted well to the on-line service, but some licence holders approximately 10% required more assistance.
Referring to the fitting of the temporary driver’s screens, Members queried if removal of the screens would be sought once the social distancing restrictions were lifted.
In responding the Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Manager said the screens would be checked at the next vehicle inspection, if they met the required standards they could be retained, if not they would be removed.
Members noted the proposed introduction of Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Leeds was now not progressing, in the discussion that followed Members queried if the grant scheme for the purchase of low emission and low pollution vehicles was still going ahead.
The Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Manager confirmed the Council was offering support to taxi and private hire licence holders of low emission vehicles (ULEV) and vehicles which would have been exempt from the Clean Air Zone (CAZ). Details were still been finalised and would be circulated to Licensing Members as soon as they became available.
The Chair thanked officers for their attendance and contributions
(i) That the Annual Report 2019 be noted.
(ii) That details of the support scheme for Taxi and Private Hire Licence holders of low emission vehicles be circulated to Members as soon as it becomes available