Carlisle City Council is working to protect at-risk taxi drivers and their passengers with the installation of screens in their vehicles.

The work the authority is undertaking to help drivers in hackney carriage and private hire vehicles to stay safe was outlined at a virtual regulatory panel meeting on Wednesday after the industry was identified by the Office of National Statistics as one with a raised risk of death during the coronavirus pandemic.

That includes helping drivers who wish to install protective screens in their vehicles to get authorisation and ensuring they do so safely.

Nicola Edwards, the council's licensing manager, said: "The National Private Hire and Taxi Organisation are mounting a campaign in favour of the installation of screens as protection both for the driver and members of the public.

"We, the car licensing authority, support the installation of protective screens in licensed vehicles, provided they are fit for purpose and of a safe standard.

"There is no requirement for members to make amendments to the licence conditions but licence holders are required to obtain permission for installation.

"A guidance note has been produced, alongside a procedure for authorisation, to ensure that licence holders are able to fit screens in their vehicles without an unnecessary delay."

The council, which licenses more than 300 taxi drivers in the city, is still processing renewal of licences but new applications are not currently being accepted due to the necessary face-to-face inspections, training and tests not being carried out.