Taxi de-zoning considered in North Northamptonshire area

Taxi licensing

07 September 2023

A hackney carriage taxi

Plans for a review of the existing taxi zones in the North Northamptonshire Council area will be discussed by the authority’s Executive next week.

If recommendations are approved a consultation would then consider whether the four current zones should be retained or replaced with one zone for North Northamptonshire.

When North Northamptonshire Council was formed, for the purposes of taxi licensing, the previous former authority area zones were retained: Corby, East Northamptonshire, Kettering and Wellingborough.

Each zone continues to licence its own taxis and drivers as well as operate to the byelaws currently in existence for that former area. It also means that a driver and vehicle wishing to operate across the whole of North Northamptonshire would need to obtain four licences.

Now we have one Council area it makes sense to review the legacy systems that we have in place and consider whether one zone for the whole of the area would be best.

There are many advantages to operating with one zone and it goes alongside what the Department for Transport recommends. However there are a number of important considerations that need to be taken into account, so it’s essential that we carry out a thorough consultation process.
Cllr David Brackenbury, The Council’s Executive Member for Growth and Regeneration

Current thinking suggests that there are advantages to having one zone in that taxis could ply for hire across the whole area, which would reduce travelling costs as taxis could operate in the town at the end of a journey rather than returning to base empty.

This would allow them to be more competitive, efficient and environmentally sustainable due to the potential for fewer empty journeys.

Additionally, the Department for Transport recommends the abolition of zones for the benefit of the travelling public. One zone would also allow the trade to respond flexibly to changes in demand across the whole Council area.

Adopting a one zone policy would raise some considerations such as the potential need to review the existing knowledge tests which all drivers must complete as well as paying attention to areas where there is currently a limit on the number of licences available.

We are one authority area and we need to continue our work to align our services in this way – as it makes it less confusing for residents and also more efficient to run.

We do recognize though that this needs to be done carefully with consideration to all of those involved and this piece of work does just that.
Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council

The proposal follows the alignment of taxi tariff of fares in November 2022 and implementation of one Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy covering the whole of NNC’s area on April 1, 2023.

If the decision is to progress consideration of the removal of the zones at this time, then a 12-week consultation process will be undertaken with the trade, partners and travelling public.

Once the consultation process has been completed, the responses will be referred back to the Licensing and Appeals Committee to determine next steps, before final consideration by the Executive.