A heated confrontation ensued when taxi drivers drove in convoy from Weybridge to Esher to confront council officers about licensing changes.

The drivers held up traffic and staged an impromptu protest outside the civic centre in Esher today, in a last ditch attempt to be heard.

They were at a planned consultation exercise in Weybridge earlier in the day, but were infuriated when the 40 drivers arrived to find just six seats nobody able to answer their questions.

Instead, they were greeted with a form and asked to fill out a survey based on their views.

Taxi driver Ghulam Qadier drove from Southfields, after working all night, because he thought the Weybridge meeting would give him the opportunity to be heard.

He said: “I thought I could have my point of view and explain what drivers have to go through and ask how we can resolve the difficulties.

“It’s a holy month for us so we’re fasting in the day. I work all night and I’ve come all this way to be handed forms which I could have filled out at home.

“This is a crucial time for us and nobody is listening.”

Weybridge driver Jawved Siddique demanded a senior licensing officer come down and talk to the drivers who had assembled outside the council offices.

The council agreed to hold a special meeting for them, but banned the Elmbridge Guardian from attending, despite protests from the drivers.

Drivers’ main gripes are a ban on tinted back windows on newly-licensed cars and the fact they are charged an entire year’s licence fee each time they bring a car on to the road, even if it is a temporary replacement when theirs is in for repairs.

They also want to see more taxi ranks at stations, because there are only two at the present moment across the whole of Elmbridge.

The drivers said they were losing trade because high profile customers wanted executive cars with tinted windows for privacy, which they cannot provide under new regulations, so drivers from outside of the borough were taking their business.

John Wilkie, who works from Weybridge station, said: “It’s just one rule after another, they keep adding more.

“They aren’t just moving the goal posts, they are moving the whole pitch and enough is enough.”