A CONSULTATION has launched over proposed changes to taxi licensing requirements in Bromsgrove, after complaints from drivers.

Bromsgrove District Council's Licensing Committee is asking residents to reconsider policies agreed last year relating to driver qualifications and the level of tint allowed on taxi windows.

Currently newly qualified taxi drivers are required to earn an NVQ level 2 in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving or equivalent within 12 months of passing their test.

The qualification, which includes mandatory units covering health and safety, customer service and dealing with emergencies, was set up with the aim of strengthening taxi drivers' skills, knowledge and overall performance.

Since the requirement was agreed in April 2016, licence holders have reported problems obtaining the qualification, due to a lack of training providers in the area. Others have complained about the cost of obtaining the NVQ.

Bromsgrove council, which is currently the only licensing authority in Worcestershire to have this requirement, is now considering replacing it with a requirement to undertake disability awareness training.

The consultation also asks residents to reconsider the existing requirement that taxi windows can not be tinted to a level that conceals the identity of the passengers inside.

Local drivers have raised concerns, claiming that the majority of new vehicles are fitted with some level of tint on the windows.

Cllr Peter Whittaker, whose portfolio includes regulatory services, said: "The council keeps all its policies under review to ensure they remain fit for purpose, and as these two matters have created certain difficulties for both licence holders and the council, the Licensing Committee has decided to carry out consultation on some proposals that may address them.”

Worcestershire Regulatory Services has produced a Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Consultation document with full details and a questionnaire, which is available at bromsgrove.gov.uk/consultations, or on request on 01905 822799.

Responses are welcome until Friday, February 16.