The Public Protection Manager presented the review of the Council’s Private Hire Vehicle and Hackney Carriage Condition of Licensing for Tinted Windows which was to review the condition of licence whereby any vehicle submitted for licence which were factory fitted and constructed and designed for passengers to be seen in a vehicle from any direction when observed from the outside and glass should have minimum light transmission of 75% for the front windscreen, 70% for the front side windows and 34% for all other vehicle window glass. In response from a request from the trade it was asked that the Licensing Team review this condition. The current standards were agreed by the Licensing Committee in 2017. In law level of tint was set but not tested as MOT or compliance test for taxis. The 34% transparency for all other windows is something that the Council have set in order to have clear visibility to ensure public safety and the wellbeing of passengers and such as lone females and young persons, the maximum number of passengers are not exceed to that displayed the licence plate and being able to see who is in the vehicle prior to getting in to the vehicle. Public safety was very important when considering conditions. CSE had now been included in the driver training as this was important for public safety. Five requests had been received by Licensing to add vehicles to the approved list which all complied with the councils window tint condition; Skoda Rapid, Skoda Fabia Estate, Hyundai 140, Peugeot 2008, Suzuki Baleno. A full consultation had been carried out with Town and Parish Councils, Ward Members, Shropshire Fire and Rescue, Independent Safeguarding, Public Health, Hackney Carriage and Private Hire and dual driver vehicle proprietors. Eleven responses were received from the consultation, seven in support of maintaining the current condition. Two responses were in favour of the current conditions or for there to be a lightening of tint in all areas and two responses to see no specification to level of tint except that of the level when factory fitted at the time of manufacture ie removing the percentage of light transmissions permitted. A petition with 139 signatures asked for a reduction in the tint to manufactured tinted glass and the reasons were reduce risk of small babies and children from getting sunstroke and reduce exhaust emissions by reducing the need to open windows and use air conditioning. Members were asked to consider the recommendations and decide if they wish to maintain the current licensing condition or amend the current licence condition as set out in the report.
During the debate some Members asked if these regulations were standard across all authorities as those private hire vehicles that were registered outside of the Borough were serving Telford and Wrekin residents. Other Members felt that the condition should remain as it was now and that we should encourage other Councils to adopt Telford and Wrekin’s standards and asked if Wolverhampton council have conditions regarding tinted windows.
The Public Protection Manager and the Principal Licensing Officer addressed the points raised and confirmed that the Licensing Team do discuss matters with neighbouring Councils and that there was no mention of tinted windows in the new statutory standards to be issued by the Government. Wolverhampton Council have factory fitted tints that have been fitted at the point of manufacture.
Upon being put to the vote it was
RESOLVED – that
a) the current licensing condition relating to tinted windows for hackney carriages and standard private hire vehicles be approved; and
b) the current licence condition relating to tinted windows for hackney carriages and standard private hire vehicles be amended to read;
“Any vehicle submitted for licence which is fitted with tinted windows must have windows which are factory fitted options at the time of the manufacture of the vehicle”