Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Kaposvar Room - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Sean O'Neill  01225 395090

Items
No. Item

28.

EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE

The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 7.

 

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Officer advised the meeting of the procedure.

29.

ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIR (IF DESIRED)

Minutes:

RESOLVED that a Vice-Chair was not required on this occasion.

30.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Emma Dixon, Michael Norton and Peter Turner. Councillor Mark Shelford substituted for Councillor Dixon.

31.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:

(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest,  (as defined in Part 2, A and B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)

Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officeror a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.

Minutes:

There were none.

32.

TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIR

Minutes:

There was none.

33.

ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC - TO RECEIVE DEPUTATIONS, STATEMENTS, PETITIONS OR QUESTIONS

Minutes:

Mr Paul Roles made a statement.

 

He commended the Council for leading the way forward on the improvement of air quality. Many drivers want this, because they have to breathe the air of the city all day. There were, however, concerns about the proposed rules for the age of vehicles, namely less than 4 years for new vehicles and review of vehicles 10 years old. Euro 6 diesel engines were first introduced in September 2015, so vehicles of this standard could already be 3 years old. For financial reasons this is the ideal age for a vehicle to be brought into the taxi trade. Such vehicles are often ex-company and rental cars, which are frequently replaced after 42 months. They have often been serviced regularly to a high technical standard and are ideal for an independent taxi driver in a small business to purchase. The Euro 5 diesel engine originated in 2011; vehicles of this type would be subject to review by the Licensing Authority in less than 3 years from now. The consultation on the Clean Air Zone had only begun the previous day; he suggested that any decisions on the revised taxi vehicle policy should be deferred until the consultation had been completed.

 

He then turned to the proposed conditions on the dress of drivers and showed some examples of shorts which he considered unacceptable and a pair of dress shorts, which he argued should be permitted. The big difference with dress shorts was that they had a belt. He said that in Florida there was a very high-class restaurant which admitted customers who wore dress shorts. As far as knew not one of the 292 licensing authorities in England had banned shorts. As for footwear, the overwhelming majority of drivers did not want flip-flops, because they considered them to be dangerous. High-heeled shoes were also not suitable footwear for taxi drivers.

 

The Chair thanked Mr Roles for his statement and assured him that his comments would be taken on board.

34.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING: 11 JULY 2018 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of 11 July 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

A Member referred to paragraph 2.3 of the resolution on page 5 of the minutes (agenda page 9):

 

“To endorse the adoption of the revised Street Trading Policy provided at Annex E.”

 

and commented that as there was no Annex E to the minutes, it should be clarified where the Policy could be found.

35.

REVIEW OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE LICENSING POLICY AND ASSOCIATED CONDITIONS pdf icon PDF 278 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Team Manager (Licensing and Environmental Protection) presented the report.

 

She said that that most of the proposed changes to the Policy related to three objectives:

 

1. Compliance with Bath’s Clean Air Plan. The Taxi Policy and the Clean Air Plan had been co-ordinated, so that that they would both be considered at the meeting of the Cabinet in December. There had been positive conversations with the taxi trade about the use of electric vehicles.

 

2. The need for awareness training on child sexual exploitation.

 

3. The need to ensure that all drivers have the necessary English-speaking skills, in order to promote public safety. A test was proposed to ensure that all new applicants have the necessary communication skills to be able to discharge the very responsible role of being a taxi driver.

 

There were other areas where changes were proposed, including taxi drivers’ dress. Drivers would be expected to give a professional appearance as appropriate to people providing a service to the public. Consultees had made comments about specific issues such as shorts and flip-flops. The proposed condition on dress could be reworded if the Committee desired this. Alternative wording that Members might find acceptable might be “drivers shall at all times be respectably dressed and clean and tidy in their appearance” and examples could be given of unacceptable dress. If shorts are permitted, they should be professional-looking shorts and the condition should clarify what was meant by “professional-looking”.

 

In view of the significant changes proposed there were a number of consultation initiatives. Every driver had been sent a copy of the proposed policy and conditions. There was also an online survey. Drivers were invited to a debate and about thirty attended. Feedback from the trade had indicated that they were generally happy with what was being proposed. Conversations with the trade were continuing.

 

Members made comments and asked questions to which the Team Manager (Licensing and Environmental Protection) responded.

 

  1. Drivers

 

  • It is right to require drivers to be tidy in appearance, but the Council should be wary of telling people specifically how they should dress, for example not to wear shorts. “Professional-looking” varies according to the nature of the profession. Who is to be the arbiter of what is appropriate? Rules about footwear are alright in so far as they relate to the driver’s ability to control his/her vehicle.

 

  • Perhaps the standard of dress could be specified as “smart casual” and then left for individual driver’s taste.

 

  • We should require drivers to be presentable, rather than lay down overly prescriptive rules.

 

  • Are we really going to ban a driver for wearing the wrong clothes?

 

  • I believe that a uniform for drivers would increase the confidence of customers that they were in the hands of a fit and proper person and a capable driver. If we do not impose a uniform, it is important that drivers should have a professional look, so I would be uncomfortable about shorts.

 

The Team Manager (Licensing and Environmental Protection) responded that the wording  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

REVIEW OF GAMBLING POLICY pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Team Manager (Licensing and Environmental Protection) presented the report.

 

Members noted that this would be the fourth revision of the Council’s Statement of Principles under the Gambling Act 2005. In preparation for this revision a public consultation had been carried out between 20 April and 12 July 2018. Responses received together with officer comments and recommendations were given in Appendix A to the report.

 

A Member said that she was concerned that some initiatives, such as requiring the gambling industry to give funding to Gamblers Anonymous or similar organisations, while being well-intentioned, did not always work as hoped. Organisations working with problem gamblers were often not comfortable about taking money from the gambling industry. She wondered whether alternatives for helping vulnerable people had been considered. The Team Manager (Licensing and Environmental Protection) agreed that this was challenging. Some gambling establishments had experimented with setting monetary thresholds for vulnerable customers, which would trigger intervention if exceeded, with the ultimate possibility of such customers being excluded from the establishment.

 

A Member said that he had seen a great deal of damage caused by gambling and was entirely opposed to it. He recognised that was not what Members were being asked on this occasion, but he had to be frank about his view.

 

A Member said that the Council should have an appropriate and proportionate approach, and should recognise that the world had changed with the many opportunities that now existed for gambling on line. He thought the revised Statement of Principles achieved this.

 

RESOLVED by 6 votes in favour and 1against:

 

  1. To note the responses to the consultation exercise and agree that the officer recommendations should be incorporated into the revised Statement of Principles;

 

  1. To recommend that the draft Statement of Principles, provided in Appendix B of the report, is presented to Full Council for adoption.

37.

ALCOHOL HARM - PRESENTATION

Members of the Public Health Team will give a presentation to the Committee.

Minutes:

Cathy McMahon, Public Health Development & Commissioning Manager, and Celia Lasheras, Health Improvement Officer, gave a presentation. A copy of their PowerPoint slides is attached as an appendix to these minutes.

 

Following the presentation Members made comments and asked questions to which Ms McMahon and Ms Lasheras responded.

 

  • Perhaps people admitted to hospital for alcohol abuse should be asked to pay.

 

  • A Reading University study showed that in 1982 the real price of alcohol was the highest since the wa,r and now it is one of the lowest.

 

  • In some parts of the US supermarkets can only sell beer and wine and spirits are sold exclusively at state shops. Perhaps our Government could do something similar, since the availability and price of alcohol are inversely related to consumption.

 

  • What has been the impact of minimum pricing for alcohol in Scotland?

 

It is too early to tell.

 

  • The Licensing Act regime is a permissive one.

 

  • Why are young people drinking less?

 

We do not really know, but perhaps like smoking it has become less “cool”. Perhaps we have been successful in preventing drinking starting at younger ages. Experimentation amongst a small percentage of young people can start at 13/14 years and alcohol consumption amongst young people increases with age.

 

  • A paper published in Nature about five weeks ago had a survey which showed that the average weekly consumption of one large relatively well-off group of people was 600 units a week, with a range of 400-800 units. Until I read that paper I was opposed to minimum unit pricing, on the ground that it would be a tax on the poor. I now think it would be a strong incentive for better-off people to reduce their drinking.  However, I believe that the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines on alcohol was one of the most misleading documents ever to have been issued by Central Government. If the annex to that document is read closely, there is no evidence to justify a maximum limit of 14 units per week for both men and women. There is no other country in the world that has the same limit for men and women. The statistics for the harm caused by alcohol are skewed by the inclusion of all causes of mortality and morbidity, including violence. The social harm caused by alcohol should not be minimised in any way, but the best evidence is that medical harm only kicks in at 80 units a week for 2% of the population. There is little evidence of benefit from alcohol-free days; comparisons between France and Northern Ireland suggest that it is better to drink steadily throughout the week rather than to confine drinking to one day. However, the social benefits from reduced drinking are significant.

 

The Committee noted the presentation and expressed its thanks to Ms McMahon and Ms Lasheras.

Licensing Cmtte 171018 pdf icon PDF 913 KB