A PLAN to licence a tuk-tuk to operate tours in Monmouthshire, which would be the first of its kind in Gwent, has been welcomed by councillors.

The tuk-tuk would operate on designated tour routes in the county, transporting up to two passengers in the three-wheeled vehicle which has a top speed of 37mph.

Monmouthshire council is currently waiting further safety information about the vehicles, but councillors gave their initial backing to the idea at a licensing and regulatory meeting on Tuesday.

Councillor Linda Guppy said the proposal could prove popular in a rural county, and help the authority keep down its carbon emissions.

“We cannot rush into this policy but the fact there is somebody showing an interest is brilliant,” Cllr Guppy said.

“Let’s try and get this right, it is an exciting policy for a rural county.”

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The council would need to change its taxi and private hire policy to licence the use of tuk-tuks, electric and cycle rickshaws.

Under the proposed conditions, they would only be allowed to be used for “special occasions and executive business contracts” in Monmouthshire.

They would be licensed as a private hire vehicle only, and would not be for everyday private hire use.

Leigh Beach, licensing enforcement officer, said it was important for the new policy to be “stringent” as the change could “open up the floodgates for others to come on board.”

However councillor Jim Higginson questioned how the authority would “police” the vehicle not being used for everyday use.

Councillors were told those responsible for operating the tuk-tuk would need to have an operating base, which council officers could inspect.

The meeting heard the proposed tuk-tuk would operate on a designated tour route, and would avoid dual-carriageways.

Councillor Richard Roden said he had concerns about the maximum speeds of the tuk-tuk, but welcomed news that it would only operate on certain routes.

“If that was to form part of the application in the future it would make me more favourable than I am at the moment,” Cllr Roden added.

The council is currently awaiting further information from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, to enable councillors to make an “informed decision” on the issue.

Councillor Simon Howarth said it was important the council also considers how tuk-tuks have operated in similar areas to Monmouthshire when a decision is made.

The nearest licensed tuk-tuk operates in Cardiff, where there are taxi lanes for it to travel in.