Bolton Council Cabinet to reject Manchester’s (Minimum) Licensing Standards (MLS)

Bolton Council Cabinet to reject Manchester’s (Minimum) Licensing Standards (MLS)

8 February 2022
Signatures: 525Next Goal: 1,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Waj Ali

We are lodging a formal petition to Bolton Council (BMBC) - regarding the proposed Stage 2, Minimum Licensing Standards for Bolton’s licensed private hire and taxi drivers/vehicles.

PLEASE NOTE: This is separate to the proposed CAZ (GM Clean Air Zone) due to take effect from 2022.

We have found that our local authority - BMBC and the other 9 authorities which form the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), is proposing to implement the following changes (highlighted below) at the same time as the CAZ takes effect without further discussion with the licensed trade. This is likely to have a negative and costly impact on self-employed drivers and cause further devastation to the local Bolton economy.

We are requesting for an immediate cease and abolishment of this proposed policy and for any future consultations to be discussed fairly and democratically with the trade/drivers input (if required).

Proposed Standards:
1. Hackney Carriages
2. Vehicle Age
3. Vehicle Emissions
4. Vehicle Colour (Will revisit in the near future)
5. Vehicle Livery
6. Vehicle Testing
7. CCTV (Further consultation required)
8. Executive Hire
9. Vehicle design
10. Vehicle Licence Conditions

Please note, the above are all vehicle related conditions

As a trade, we object to all the proposed changes (full case argument for each proposed standard above, has been provided to the council and councillors by joint submission of all Bolton trade associations, please see BPHA response), for example:

(7) CCTV - Certainly a good idea, for the safety of Drivers and the travelling public. What are the views of the public, would they be comfortable with having CCTV in vehicles? DfT guidelines do not specifically mandate for councils to have CCTV in vehicles. It is for councils to prove the need for CCTV and the cost. Should be optional, councils should also fund the installation of this for vehicle owners and indemnify vehicle owners for any electrical or warranty issues relating to the vehicle. The council is the Data Controller.

TfGM was a major contributor to the GM MLS however those licensed in the trade from Bolton were not invited to discussions. We cannot understand how a bus regulator which does not impose age limits on privately owned bus operators had a say in imposing age limits on private hire and taxis. 

Whilst the GMCA publicised both these changes online and via online consultations, licensed drivers throughout the 10 GM authorities were not fully informed and/or properly advised/consulted on the proposed changes, hence the recent demonstrations in Bury, Rochdale and Bolton.

Further, despite the very low response rate, we as licensed drivers had not received any feedback on the survey results and nor have we had any further input on changes which affect our work and livelihoods. The two consultations (1) GM CAZ and (2) GM Minimum Licensing Standards were released at the same time. Both were very time consuming surveys for those that responded. The MLS survey was deferred for quite some time due to the proposed GM CAZ and with overlap in one of the proposed standards.

Our argument is strong, Bolton Council is our council and just like any other council, it needs to serve the interest of its citizens, local taxpayers, businesses and licensees and not just to explore further “revenue” opportunities from us. We expect democracy to take place and for the Council Leader to listen to our concerns by scrapping MLS. 

Bolton’s current licensing standards are already set to very high standards. 

None of the proposed standards improve “public safety” and nor will they compromise public safety if they are all scrapped without further discussion or implementation. To prove this point, proposed Standard 4, was also pitched as a “public safety” and this was dismissed by Bolton Conservative councillors and common-sense won.  

Drivers and Operators from both sectors of the licensed trade are united in opposing the implementation of any further MLS. Stage 2 MLS, also an ill thought plan was rushed through without proper dialogue with all relevant stakeholders including PH Operators, this is also to be formally objected.

This agenda item - Stage 2 MLS has now been deferred twice from the Council’s Cabinet meeting, clearly demonstrating that the Report recommended to the council is strongly opposed by all sectors of the trade and it also not being “fit for purpose”, with major discrepancies and inconsistencies.

We are also requesting for the councillors to investigate conflicts of interest which were identified previously and the involvement of the 3rd party companies/registered charities and/or its members in the formation of the MLS policy.

Please show your support. Please share and sign this e-petition. It is in every license holders interest and does not cost you to help with this cause, which we will then respectively forward on to the relevant councillors/department.

The GM surveys were open to the public. This petition is also open to the public. 

James Daly MP (Conservative) for Bury North also supports the scrapping of MLS in GM.

Kind regards


Bolton Private Hire Association 

Bolton Private Hire Operators Alliance

Bolton Private Hire Alliance

Bolton Independent Taxis


Support now
Signatures: 525Next Goal: 1,000
Support now