TfL Ref: FOI-2557-1617 and FOI-2442-1617
Thank you for your Freedom of Information requests received on 6 and 19 March regarding expired vehicle licences. We have grouped your two requests together as we follow the same process for the retrieval of both expired taxi and private hire vehicle licenses. I sincerely apologise for the delay in replying to you.
Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we do hold the information you require.
You asked for:
• The procedures we follow in order to retrieve expired vehicle licences
• The number of taxi licences that have not been retrieved
• The number of private hire licences that we have recovered in the last three calendar years.
We have taken steps to improve and update the notices issued to holders of expired vehicle licences, highlighting the importance of their return. We are also writing to all proprietors, fleet and garage owners asking them to return any outstanding licences and plates. In addition, we are looking to update these licences to stipulate that they remain the ‘Property of Transport for London’.
Our compliance officers are tasked with the recovery of expired licences. As you may be aware we are in the process of recruiting an additional 250 compliance officers, 150 of which have already been recruited. This is giving us a greater ability to pursue and recover expired vehicle licences, including during fleet and operator inspections.
Regarding your second two points, recovered vehicle licences are recorded individually on each vehicle licence record and there are thousands of records held. Therefore, we are unable to provide a total figure without manually checking each record. Carrying this out would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.
Under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with a request if we estimate that the cost of determining whether we hold the information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other information would exceed the appropriate limit. This is calculated at £25 per hour for every hour spent on the activities described.
We have estimated that it would significantly exceed the appropriate limit to provide a response to your current request. This is because it is estimated that it would greatly exceed the time limit allowed to retrieve and compile the information you have requested.
To help bring the cost of responding to your request within the £450 limit, you may wish to consider narrowing its scope so that we can more easily locate, retrieve and extract the information you are seeking. If you want to refine your request or make a Freedom of Information Act request in future, please bear in mind that the Freedom of Information Act allows you to request recorded information held by us. You should identify the information that you want as clearly and concisely as you can, specifying the types of document that you are looking for. You might also consider limiting your request to a particular period of time, geographical area or specific departments of the organisation.
Although your request can take the form of a question, rather than a request for specific documents, we do not have to answer your question if it would require the creation of new information or the provision of a judgement, explanation, advice or opinion that was not already recorded at the time of your request.
Please note that we will not be taking further action until we receive your revised request.
In the meantime, if you have any queries or would like to discuss your request, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team