TWO taxi drivers are celebrating this week after becoming the first to pass a controversial new driving standards test.

Drivers Samantha Henney and Paul Scott sailed through the test - designed to improve the standard of taxi driving in the town.

The test, which has been introduced by Darlington Borough Council, has proved controversial among drivers, who fear it could put some out of business.

Under the new rules, drivers young and old will not have their licences renewed by the council until they have passed the test.

Cabbies voted in favour of strike action over the test last week.

And yesterday, Tom Bolan, director of ABC Taxis, drafted a letter to Darlington MP Alan Milburn questioning their legality.

Mr Bolan, who fears the test could put him out of business, claims the council is not legally allowed to impose conditions on a taxi driver's licence, after a ruling by a court in Wales.

He said: "I am not afraid of taking the test, I am just worried about the pass rate, which is about 25 per cent.

"Sitting a 40-minute test is not going to change anyone's driving ability on a permanent basis."

Drivers are not revealing when they plan to strike because they do not want the council to put any contingency plans in place.

They are also planning a march through the town centre.

And they voted to raise funds to hire a barrister to fight their cause in the courts