DURHAM City will be reduced to gridlock if plans to allow unlimited numbers of taxis to operate across the county are pushed through, a cabbies’ leader has claimed.

Adrian Fets, chairman of Durham Independent Taxi Association, was speaking after Durham County Council’s cabinet backed a series of changes to the taxi trade.

Councillors approved creating a deregulated, single hackney carriage zone, allowing unlimited numbers of vehicles to operate anywhere in County Durham and imposing an all-white colour scheme on taxis.

Mr Fets said: “This is going to put taxi firms out of business. It’s going to be gridlock in Durham City, there’s going to be more pollution and there are going to be constant traffic jams as taxis drive round and round trying to get a parking space.

“It’s an absolute disgrace.”

If the changes are approved by a full council meeting next month, taxi drivers will pursue a legal challenge through a judicial review, Mr Fets said.

Council officials say the changes would create a more consistent, open, fairer and cleaner taxi service.