Barnoldswick & Earby Time, Colne Times and Nelson Leader Column: Friday 26th October 2018

My weekly column from 26 October

The state of Pendle’s taxis and how they are licensed is an issue that gets raised with me on a regular basis, from both customers and taxi drivers themselves. 

The public need to have confidence that when they get into a taxi, the vehicle is safe and well maintained and the driver properly licensed. The trade also needs to have confidence in the licensing authority. Decisions must be seen to be taken fairly with everyone treated the same. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case. 

The licensing and enforcement of the taxi trade is the responsibility of Pendle Borough Council. For too long the threat of taking enforcement action against the taxi trade has been used, by some, to exert political pressure on the trade. 

The main aim of Pendle Borough Council’s enforcement should be public safety and only that. No other considerations should be applied. That is why the new administration of the Borough Council, who took control after the local elections in May, have abolished the taxi licensing committee. This removes councillors from direct involvement in enforcement action. 

While this is a positive step there is still more work to do, including proactively working with the trade to improve standards and to weed out the poor operators who fail to maintain their standards. 

The taxi trade in Pendle is a vital source of employment for many who live here and a vital service for those who without a reliable taxi trade, wouldn’t be able to get out and about very easily. I will continue to do what I can to support the trade and customers alike to ensure standards are improved and where those standards aren’t met the proportion action is taken. 

Speaking of standards, there has been a lot of work done on Pendle’s roads this year. No-one will forget how bad they got last winter. As a regular road user, I was one of many hit by higher than expected repair costs at the garage, fixing damage to our cars. 

Over the last 18 months, an additional £10 million has gone into maintaining Lancashire’s roads. Not everything can be done in just one year. However, I hope fellow motorists will see the improvement as they drive this winter.