A BAN on Union Flags being displayed in taxis and private hire vehicles in Shropshire will be lifted following changes to licensing rules.

A vote held at Shropshire Council’s Strategic Licensing Committee on January 11 approved changes which will allow taxi drivers in the county to display one Union Flag on their vehicle.

Earlier this year, a taxi driver from Market Drayton was told to remove a large cross of St George from his vehicle because it broke the county’s licensing rules, which prohibited the display of national flags on taxis and private hire vehicles.

A motion to approve the changes was carried at the committee, with one vote against and one abstention.

Green Party councillor Mike Isherwood, had argued against the proposals, calling them “needlessly divisive.”

“I find it unfair, discriminatory and I’m surprised it would even be legal,” he told the meeting.

“It’s needlessly divisive to introduce flags to taxis especially if it's only privileged to one nation’s flag.”

Councillor Isherwood proposed an amendment to a motion to support the changes, saying the council should allow flags of other nations to be flown, which was not seconded.

Shropshire Council’s head of consumer protection Frances Darling noted that the relaxing of rules around displaying of the Union Flag could leave customers “concerned for their safety.”

“This is due to its known appropriation by those with nationalist and right-wing sentiments,” she said.

But Conservative councillor Garry Burchett said the changes would help to “reclaim” the Union Flag from far right elements.

“The union flag has been stolen and we need to make a huge effort to publicise it as much as we can,” he said.