SOUTH HOLLAND: Taxi drivers in part of Fenland to be compelled to sit an English test

PUBLISHED: 11:42 09 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:53 02 June 2010

TAXI drivers in parts of Fenland will be told they must pass a written and spoken test in English or risk losing their licence. The new policy is being introduced by South Holland District Council and all 337 existing drivers will be forced to take the te

TAXI drivers in parts of Fenland will be told they must pass a written and spoken test in English or risk losing their licence.

The new policy is being introduced by South Holland District Council and all 337 existing drivers will be forced to take the test when they renew their licences.

Craig Fowler, the council's team leader for licensing, says there will be both a written and spoken test at the time of renewal.

"This would include answering some verbal questions, writing a simple receipt and explaining their understanding of certain conditions on the licence," he said.

"Applicants or existing licensed drivers who fail the test would not be licensed or have their license renewed on the basis that they are not fit and proper to hold a license."

Mr Fowler says the new tests are considered necessary "for public protection and an occupational requirement" and they anticipate am average of 100-120 tests a year.

South Holland Council asked existing drivers for their views on the new policy and Mr Fowler says they have been "generally supportive of this proposal". Other local authorities are already conducting such tests and some are placing more onerous requirements than that being proposed.

The council says that if the policy gets the go ahead, it will be a tough call for their staff who will have to devise the test and then have a member of staff sit with the application taking the test.

The council is being recommended to approve the scheme and to introduce a payment for each test to help pay the staffing costs.

Mr Fowler says if the council does not introduce the new policy, it could mean them being held responsible, for example, if a driver's failure to speak and understand English caused or contributed to an accident.


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