Leeds City Council is allowing taxi and private hire drivers to install temporary safety screens in vehicles in response to the Covid-19 emergency.
The council has “a very strict policy” on the installation of safety screens in private hire and hackney carriage vehicles.
The council usually funds 50% of the cost of installing a permanent safety screen, up to £250 per vehicle, but each individual design must be approved before the council will allow them to be fitted.
Due to safety concerns for both passengers and drivers during the pandemic, the council has temporarily relaxed this policy, and is now allowing drivers to install their own temporary screens without going through the usual council approval process.
The council still recommends the installation of approved permanent screens, but allowing temporary screens to be fitted has enabled taxi and private hire drivers to act quickly to keep themselves and their passengers safe and reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.
All temporary screens will need to be removed when the emergency ends, and the council’s policy of approving each screen design will be the only way to have a safety screen fitted.
Councillor James Lewis, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, said: “We have listened to concerns from taxi and private hire drivers and operators about keeping safe during the coronavirus pandemic and have temporarily changed our policy to reflect this.
“Of course it is our preference that each screen is checked and approved by us, but we understand that these are unprecedented times and that there are huge numbers of drivers that need to be given the freedom to act quickly for the safety of themselves and their passengers. After careful assessment, we are glad to be able to provide that.”