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..THE NPHTA AT WORK..


With the push for Clean Air Zones (CAZ) in many regions of the UK (many of which are already in consultation) and the push for hybrid or electric vehicles, the only electric WAV being in the region of £58,000 to buy, now more than ever as a result of Covid reductions in income, who can afford to make such a purchase? In fact we are seeing reports of the very same vehicles being repossessed or handed back during this period, so this is going to have huge effects on the availability of WAVs in the very near future – actually it is already happening.


I also pointed out that before putting such restrictions on those pro- viding the service to them, maybe they should look at the many train stations that do not have fully wheelchair accessible platforms (of course I gave them examples to verify the point being made).


They did ask what level of funding we thought may be suitable for the industry in order to bridge the gap, to which I replied “given the fact that the bus industry has been granted £5.5 billion, I would sug- gest in the region of 60 to 70% funding towards these vehicles per week, not loans which need paying back….grants to support the gov- ernment drive towards zero emissions vehicles.” The terminology used was very precise: these are NOT vehicles that the drivers want, these are the vehicles that the government wants drivers to have, therefore this support is NOT to suit driver desires, but to support the Clean Air Zone proposals and the government’s desires.


The other attendees took all of that on board and did say they would be reporting back to Ministers with all the comments and concerns raised, as they did fully understand the points being made and found them to be perfectly reasonable and logical.


PPE COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT


There have been several remote hearings and discussions taking place around the use of PPE, the guidance, compliance and enforce- ment around this topic, in which we were happy to be involved, especially since the mandatory requirement for passengers to wear face coverings was a result of months of campaigning to get our in- dustry added to the list of premises or environments where the mandatory requirement was applicable.


There is a lot more work to be done on this topic, since there is still a lot of confusion out there: who should wear them, what rights of refusal are there, challenging exemptions - which is a very risky thing to do as it stands under the Equality Act; who enforces it etc.


Many of the participants in meetings of this nature were represent- ing police, trains, buses, tubes, trams and other transport sectors, where the discussion was mainly around levels of compliance and levels of enforcement. Of course we had to make the observation that for those sectors, there is support from police or other enforce- ment agencies, whereas for our industry, late at night with party goers this enforcement and support does not exist, leaving our members alone, vulnerable and in a very awkward situation… added to that of course the massively reduced income levels making it al- most impossible to turn away what little work there was left based on nothing more than a statement of “I am exempt”, which we must take at face value.


This is ongoing, but the one point we did make loud and clear was that there should be a clearer message, easy to find, easy to understand and easy to share or access. That message should be coming from the top level government, not be left to local authorities to dissect, analyse, interpret and share, since right now the message is too varied; in fact it can vary from one location to another.


NOVEMBER 2020 CLEAN AIR ZONES


Yet more meetings are taking place, including updates and discus- sions with DEFRA keeping us in the loop about the regions and their updates.


BIRMINGHAM has announced their start date of June 2021, which will include private vehicles, not just hackney carriage (taxi) and pri- vate hire vehicles.


BRISTOL is still in consultation at this point.


GREATER MANCHESTER has launched their consultation which is set to run until the beginning of December along their proposed min- imum licensing standards. (see article in this edition)


LEEDS has avoided introducing a charging zone by introducing traf- fic calming or restrictive measures.


COVENTRY has taken the same stance as Leeds City Council using traffic measures.


DERBY has also introduced traffic management measures as an alternative to a charging zone.


This is something which is referred to in another article within this month’s publication, and we encourage all drivers to respond to these consultations, since once these zones are introduced, they will apply to all licensed vehicles regardless of where they are licensed.


We did express our views to the powers that be there should also be national exemptions, meaning that if a vehicle was exempt in one local authority, then based on the national database, the vehicle should be listed as exempt and therefore not charged by any other council, although this has not been actioned or re- solved as yet.


FINAL THOUGHTS


As always, we strive for better support, better guidance and more help for you all, whilst being there to help, guide and advise you all in any way we can.


But just as any other union or association, we are only as strong as our membership, we value your support and thrive on the challenges that you throw at us.


A UNIFIED TRADE


IS A POWERFUL VOICE! NOW MORE THAN EVER


WE NEED TO STAND TOGETHER!! JOIN THE NPHTA NOW!


0161 280 2800 info@nphta.co.uk


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