CAB drivers could be forced to shell out up to £600 to fit CCTV in their vehicles if plans are given the green light.

A six-week consultation is set to begin on the Colchester Council proposals, which would see all newly registered vehicles required to have the kit fitted.

Already-registered cars would be given time to have their vehicles brought up to standard.

Black cab and private hire firms have joined together to raise their concerns over the proposals.

There is broad agreement CCTV would protect both drivers and their customers but drivers are angry at the cost they would have to shoulder to fit the gear.

David Green, secretary of the Colchester Hackney Carriage Association, spoke at a meeting of Colchester Council’s licensing committee on Wednesday night.

Despite having less than a week’s notice to contact his members, he produced 82 points from association members, largely raising concerns over the cost of the equipment.

He said: “They just do not see how this cost - between £300 and £600 per car - should be down to the trade.

“Every time we come to change our vehicles, we have to get an appointment to get our meter removed and now this will be something else we have to get sorted.”

Christine Harvey, who works for private hire firm Panther Cabs, added: “Without doubt, drivers’ biggest issue is the cost and they do not understand why they are being asked to pay out so much money.

“A lot of our drivers actually have cameras fitted already and it cost them £30 from eBay and honestly they are probably better than ones that cost £200 or £300.

“There is no question CCTV is a good idea, it’s just the expense. There is a cheaper way to do it.”

The speakers also raised the issue of privacy as many drivers, especially in private hire, used their vehicles privately when not on duty, and also suggested some customers would prefer not to have conversations recorded.

Mr Green said: “Many times when a customer has got out of the taxi, they have turned to me and said: ‘Driver, you didn’t hear that conversation,’ and I understand that.”

Julie Young (Lab), who chaired the meeting, said the move is about “protecting drivers and customers”.

She said: “Even if this policy is recommended, there will be a public consultation so both drivers and the public will be able to give their views.”

The policy was recommended for approval.