COUNCIL bosses have agreed to relax age restrictions on black cabs after protests from drivers.

Blackburn with Darwen council has scrapped its “two tier” system, which meant some Hackney Carriages had to be withdrawn despite older ones being allowed to stay on the road.

At the same time it has put a freeze on new licences for the next five years.

New rules adopted in 2005 meant that black cabs would only be granted licences if they were no more than three years old, and had to be scrapped after 10 years.

But older taxis granted licences before 2005 could be used until they were 15 years old.

Coun Alan Cottam, Tory regeneration and environment chief, has agreed to bring the two in line.

He said: “It seemed ridiculous – we were throwing away some of the best vehicles after 10 years.”

The council has also decided not to grant any new taxi plates for five years after complaints there were too many black cabs competing for trade.

There are currently seven licences waiting to be issued, but these are being put on hold.

The move will be reviewed every year.

Recently the town hall backed down in the face of a legal challenge and agreed to allow a new type of taxi, the Peugeot E7, on the streets, despite fears by other black cab drivers they would be undercut.