Norwegian Wood arrives at Trafalgar Square

A 50-year-old Norwegian Spruce has made its way to London from Norway to stand ion Trafalgar Square once again this year.

Each year Oslo donates a tree to the people of London as a mark of thanks for their support during the Second World War. The first was sent to Britain in 1946.

This year’s tree, a 50-metre specimen, known as the Queen of the Forest, was felled by the Mayor of Oslo Fabian Stang, alongside Westminster’s Lord Mayor, Sarah Richardson. The tree made a 700-mile journey by lorry and boat to arrive in London on December 2.

Norwegian Wood at Trafalgar Square

Croydon Taxi driver wins council battle

CroydonCab driver wins fight against council PCN

A lady cab driver in Croydon won her fight with the council last month to overturn £650 worth of fines after the council enforced a no-right turn rule on Addiscombe Road.

In October 2013, with no notice or advertisement, the council installed CCTV to catch drivers turning right onto Cherry Orchard Road and the footage revealed many how cab drivers were using it as a shortcut to East Croydon taxi rank.

Denise Borg, well known in the area as she drives a pink London taxi, was amongst 230 taxi drivers who had been stung by the new rule. She appealed to the council on the basis that she had not been made aware that the rules had come into force. She told reporters: “We won on the grounds that they never advertised that they had changed the rules. You can’t let someone think they are doing ok for 14 years and then suddenly change it without changing any signage or notification.”

A spokesman for the council, said: “The signs and road markings at the location in question have been in place for the past 14 years and clearly advise drivers to turn left. A small number of drivers have exercised their right to appeal to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service after being issued a penalty charge notice for failing to comply with the directions. Of 17 appeals lodged, 10 have been refused and one is awaiting decision.

While the council accepts that a small number have succeeded, it should be noted that the adjudicator stated that the road markings and signage are fully compliant and the decisions are determined on a case-by-case basis. The adjudicator further stated that the decision does not prevent the council from continuing to enforce this mandatory direction.

In this instance, however, the appeal was allowed. The decision refers only to the appeals of the individuals in question and does not set a precedent regarding any other appeal nor, indeed, other penalty charge notices issued under similar circumstances.”

Croydon Taxi driver wins council battle
Courtesy of Taxicabnews


Trapped by driveway parking bay

Bungling council workers have painted a new parking bay right across a homeowner’s driveway, leaving her afraid of becoming a prisoner in her own home.

The pensioner has slammed her local council after a parking bay was painted not just outside her house – but right across her driveway. The pensioner is now worried she will become a prisoner in her own home after bungling council workers put lines across her drive when a new parking scheme came into force last month.

“I have been in touch with the council constantly since the parking scheme was announced to flag this up,” said the 75-year-old.” But all that council officials can say is that drivers should know it is illegal to park in front of a driveway. “I couldn’t believe it when the workmen just turned up and started painted the bay right outside my driveway,” she said.

Director of Regeneration and Environment at Doncaster Council, Peter Dale said a new parking scheme came into force to combat the problem of day parking associated with the nearby hospital. “It is an offence to block access to a property and the scheme does not change this,” he added.

Shell Centre plan

Shell Centre plan gets Green light


The Green light has been given to plans for the redevelopment of the Shell Centre site on the South Bank. The 27-storey Shell Centre Tower will remain the centrepiece of the new site, and will continue to be owned and occupied by Shell.

It will be complemented by eight new buildings, one of which will incorporate new offices and trading floors for Shell, enabling all of their 4,000 London-based staff to be located together on the South Bank for the first time. The new development will have new retail units, restaurants and cafés and will incorporate up to 877 new homes, including affordable housing. The construction will continue over an anticipated six-year period.

Shell Centre plan
Courtesy of Taxicabnews

T&PH performance is “Woefully Inadequate” says London Assembly report

The London Assembly Transport Committee report entitled “Future Proof: Taxi and Private Hire Services in London” was published shortly before Christmas. In it, Transport for London’s performance in regulating the Taxi and Private Hire trades has been described as “woefully inadequate” by London Assembly members.

This criticism comes as the Assembly’s Transport Committee published the findings of a six month investigation into the state of the trades and TfL’s role as regulator.

The report states: “Efforts to modernise taxi and private hire services and meet passenger expectations are being hindered by the lack of a Mayoral strategy for the future of these trades. This makes it difficult for Transport for London (TfL) to regulate the industries efficiently and effectively. Taxi and private hire services form a crucial element of London’s public transport offer, including for some of the most vulnerable passengers, but competition from new technology, and changing passenger demands, are challenging the traditional ways in which these services are delivered. London’s taxi and private hire services will need to evolve to meet these challenges. Failure to address fundamental issues affecting the trades threatens to spark a race to the bottom in terms of standards, putting the travelling public at risk, and threatening London’s reputation as a world leader for these services.”

It continued by saying: “The inherent role of the regulator, TfL, is to protect the interests of the travelling public. We call on the Mayor and TfL to preserve the distinction between the licensed taxi and private hire industries, recognising that diversity of choice is critical to meeting passengers’ differing requirements. We need a clear strategy to ensure the survival and prosperity of both of these services, which covers three critical, inter-related areas of public interest:
safety, availability and accessibility.”


Ruling regarding Children in arms in London Taxis

Following a number of quiries from clients regarding whether they are covered for children in arms and whether two under 10s count as 1, Quotax wrote to TFL asking for clarification, please see their response below:

This can be a complex issue but with the application of common sense it is usually overcome very quickly.

The notice 45/06 attached in this email summarises the various seat belt and child restraint legislation for children under 12 and under 1.35m (small child) and children age 13 and over 1.35m (large child).

In brief, children travelling in vehicles must when available use an appropriate restraint which meets the child’s age, height and size requirements. However, there are qualifying exemptions to this rule when travelling in taxis fitted with partition screens, these are laid out in the attached Notice.

The legal requirements, responsibilities of the driver need to be taken within the context of the various qualifying exemptions as summarised in the notice:

•      The driver of a PHV without a partition screen fitted does have a legal responsibility for ensuring children do wear the appropriate seats belts where available
•      Where taxis have a partition screen it is in the interest of the taxi driver to ensure all passengers, including children, wear an appropriate restraint
•      For taxis, there are no examples or descriptions of how children may travel unrestrained, such as travelling on the lap of the parent or guardian
•      The qualifying exemption does not specify a number of children that may travel unrestrained
•      The age of children are those that are defined in notice 45/06

The driver will need to make an informed assessment and judgement at the time of travel as to whether or not the hiring is accepted (the driver should have the last word in this matter).

Taking all of the above into account the common sense approach to this should be that all occupants of a taxi should be appropriately protected in the event of a collision. This means that all occupants should wear an appropriate seat belt and the guardian of any children should take responsibility for ensuring that their children are appropriately restrained either with a seatbelt, use of a child seat (provided by the guardian) or the child should be attached appropriately to the guardian themselves.

Drivers are not allowed to take any more passengers than is stated on the taxi licence plate so, taking into account the information above,  they will have to make informed decisions regarding the carriage of adults and accompanying children

Please see PCO notice below

PCO Notice 45/06
Wearing of seat belts and child restraints –
amended legislation from 18 September 2006
With effect from 18 September 2006, the Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 1993 and associated legislation will include particular requirements, and exemptions, relating to both adults and children wearing seat belts and/or appropriate restraints. The following is a summary of the new rules as they relate to passengers in taxis and private hire vehicles.
Child restraint regulations
The regulations state that if a child is under 12 years old and under 1.35m [4ft 5ins] in height (a small child) they must either be in a child restraint appropriate for the weight and height of the child with that restraint marked as complying with the relevant British or European Standard, or in a child restraint that would be legal for that child in another EU member state.
If the child is 12 or 13 years old or over 1.35m in height (a large child) they must either be in a child restraint appropriate for the weight and height of the child with that restraint marked as complying with the relevant British or European Standard, or use an adult seat belt.
However, taxis and private hire vehicles are not required to provide child restraints and there are qualified exemptions allowing children to travel unrestrained in those vehicles.
Taxis and private hire vehicles with a fixed partition between the driver and passenger compartments
Children may travel unrestrained if no appropriate restraint is provided in the passenger compartment. Where an appropriate restraint is available, this should be used.
Private hire vehicles without a partition between the driver and passenger compartments
Child passengers aged under 3 years of age
• Front seat – an appropriate child restraint must be used. No rear facing child restraint can be used in the front seat if the vehicle is fitted with a front passenger air bag unless it has been deactivated
Page 2 of 3
(or is designed or adapted so it cannot inflate in a way that poses a risk to a child in a rear facing child seat).
• Rear seat – an appropriate child restraint must be used if available but a child may travel unrestrained if an appropriate restraint is not available.
Responsibility for compliance rests with the driver.
Child passengers aged 3 to 11 and under 1.35 metres [4ft 5ins] in height
• Front seat – an appropriate child restraint must be used.
• Rear seat – an appropriate child restraint must be used if available where seat belts are fitted. In addition, a child must use an adult belt if;-
a) the appropriate child restraint is not available
b) two occupied child restraints prevent the fitting of a third.
Responsibility for compliance rests with the driver.
Child passengers aged 12 or 13, or over 1.35 metres [4ft 5 ins] in height
• Front seat – appropriate child restraint or adult seat belt must be used
• Rear seat – if a seat belt is fitted the child must use either an appropriate child restraint or an adult seat belt
Responsibility for compliance rests with the driver.
Adult passengers
• Front seats – adult seat belt must be worn if fitted
• Rear seats – adult seat belt must be worn if fitted
Responsibility for compliance rests with the passenger.
• The driver of a licensed taxi is required to wear a seatbelt when not plying for hire, answering a call for hire or carrying passengers.
• The driver of a licensed private hire vehicle is required to wear a seatbelt when not carrying passengers for hire.
Responsibility for compliance rests with the driver
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The legislation
The information contained within this notice does not present the full requirements of this complex legislation but attempts to focus on the elements relevant to the taxi and private hire trade.
The legislation that this notice relates to is:
• Sections 14 – 15B of the Road Traffic Act 1998;
• The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 1993, as amended; and,
• The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts by Children in Front Seats) Regulations 1993, as amended.
Further information on the new regulations may be found on the following website
13 September 2006 Head of the Public Carriage Office