DURHAM City Council is pressing ahead with a taxi colour code.

All new hackney vehicles will have to be white, including nine new licences being issued as part of the deregulation of the industry.

Taxi operators oppose the move, saying white is already used in Easington and Sunderland and will make it harder to identify Durham cabs if there are problems.

They also say white vehicles are hard to obtain, that re-sprays will add to their costs, and that deregulation will cost existing operators business.

The council is concerned that there are not enough cabs to clear the city's taxi ranks of weekend drinkers in the early hours and that there are not enough vehicles that can carry the disabled - the nine new licences will be for disabled-accessible cabs.

Phil Bell, chairman of the Durham Taxi Association, said: "I should think we'll be fighting this."

He said legal challenges to colour code policies had been successful in other areas. "We are consulting our solicitor."