Council can’t ban drug-dealing cabbies from Welwyn Hatfield

The borough council can't ban cabbies lisensed in other areas

The borough council can't ban cabbies lisensed in other areas - Credit: Archant

Council chiefs have admitted they can’t stop drivers from outside Welwyn Hatfield working here, even if they are convicted drug dealers.

According to official guidelines on the borough council website, taxi firms should use only drivers licensed by the authority - but persistent enquiries by Hatfield man Ray Bassett have revealed this is not legally enforcable.

After he had complained about one driver’s ignorance of the area, a senior officer explained the implications of a 2008 court case from Newcastle-on-Tyne.

James Vaughan told Mr Bassett by email in January: “The outcome basically means a Hackney carriage licensed in any authority can work as a private hire vehicle anywhere in England and Wales.

“Each local authority has different terms and conditions for licensed vehicles and drivers, such as age of vehicle, standard of English for drivers and geographical knowledge.

“I have actively discouraged operators from pursuing this course of action and employing ‘outsiders’, however one local company has chosen to ignore this advice.

“Therefore standards of vehicles and drivers have dropped to the point where there is a convicted drug dealer, licensed by another authority, working freely within the borough. Something Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council would never allow.”

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A spokeswoman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times the drug-dealing driver had now stopped working in the borough, and the council was reviewing its rules under legal advice.

Mr Bassett. a 34-year old computer engineer who lives in Goldings Crecent, said: “I am horrified. If that is the law, then the law is an ass.”