Taxis operating in Wigan but registered in Wolverhampton spark concerns

Fears have been voiced that cab drivers could obtain licences from Wolverhampton and work in Wigan to avoid new rules in order to improve emissions.
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Coun John Vickers raised his concerns over drivers with registrations from the West Midlands city operating in the area and whether a new change in vehicle standards could see this problem escalate. Joanne Brockley, licensing manager at Wigan Council, explained that Wolverhampton Council’s taxi standards for emissions were lower, which is the reasoning behind cabs operating under their registrations.

The Regulation Committee approved the implementation of a minimum age requirement for taxis in the area.

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A taxi rank in Wigan town centreA taxi rank in Wigan town centre
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The committee agreed that saloon vehicles could be no older than 10 years and wheelchair accessible vehicles 15 years. This new policy would only come into force on April 1, 2026 – after which vehicles older than the requirement would not be granted a new taxi licence.

A number of Greater Manchester authorities have already implemented this change so Wigan can no longer delay in agreeing the GM-wide policy despite fears this could see their fleet numbers drop. To offset this issue there is a ‘cooling-off’ period between August 16 and April 1, 2026, where cabbies will be allowed time to prepare for the changes due to current high car prices.

“What happens out of Wigan is outside our control,” Coun Vickers asked during the town hall meeting on August 11. “A lot of the issues are coming from Wolverhampton (licensed taxis).”

Councillors were told how there is no way to prevent cabs registered under different authorities working in the area. Ms Brockley claimed they only knew of two vehicles from private firms in the area using outside registrations, one from Bolton and another from Wolverhampton.

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The plan to stop this change is to promote local taxis, the committee heard. This would involve urging residents to use taxis which featured the Wigan Council logo – meaning they are up to GM standards.

Coun Lee McStein asked whether this would impact on the taxi fleet numbers.

“It won’t have a massive impact on the hackney fleet,” Ms Brockley responded. “In terms of private hires I can’t put a number on it.”

Although the committee agreed to these new terms, there could still be reviews of the policy in the coming years.

This would depend on possible changes in demands for taxis, the town hall heard.