A SECOND group of councillors are set to look into late night taxi tariffs after fears were raised that it was putting people off having nights out in Wiltshire towns.

A task group set up by the Environment Select Committee has already looked into whether the set tariff in Salisbury was leading people to go to rival cities for nights out.

A blanket tariff for taxi drivers was placed on Wiltshire in 2014 in order to “harmonise” the different tariffs of its four previous county councils.

Despite calls from people who run and operate in Salisbury’s night life to have a tariff separate to the rest of the county, cabinet member Cllr Jerry Wickham had not authorised a review into Salisbury taxis until the Novicok incident occurred last year.

Following this he allowed an Environment Committee task group to be formed to investigate the possibility of offering different tariffs of the city.

The Environment group called on the council to consider removing the higher rate for early hours of the morning and review the difference in costs between five and eight seaters in a bid to lower costs and attract more people into the county. Higher rates, for vehicles providing lifts after 2.30am currently cost between £4-£6 per mile.

It also considered whether qualifications should be introduced for taxi drivers, more disabled taxis and more taxis with CCTV.

However it did not make firm recommendations on whether different taxi charges should be implemented in Salisbury due to the “complexity” of the issue.

Now a task group made up of at least three councillors from the Licensing Committee will investigate the issue for the whole county.

Cllr Wickam said: “I have been contacted by representatives from the Salisbury night time economy seeking a review of tariffs. I have consistently refused, stating that I would not consider it unless circumstances have not radically changed. However after the Salisbury incident and especially during the recovery days I was asked to reconsider, which I have done."

“In terms of moving forward, in the last few weeks central government indicated a number of new proposals that could instigate change.

“Therefore to start too much work would be premature. I do not know the full extent of the government proposals and accordingly I propose we pause further work.

“Should you wish to continue the examination by forming a task group, myself and officers will be only too pleased to assist. I will look very careful and welcome this approach.”

A national Department for Transport consultation into taxis is currently open until April 22.

This includes suggestions to increase CCTV and background criminal checks on drivers applying for licences to work. Chair of the Licensing committee Cllr Peter Hutton confirmed that the task group would focus on tariffs charged by taxi drivers across the entire county, as well as in Salisbury.

Cllr Pip Ridout added: “I have no problem being Salisbury as a priority but we also have military in Warminster who have to get to Salisbury and I know taxi tariffs has been complained about in the past, so we should widen it to investigate the whole of Wiltshire.”