New private hire vehicle licence

Before we can grant a private hire vehicle licence we must be satisfied that the proposed vehicle is:

  1. Less than eight years old when granted
  2. Suitable in type, size, and design for use as a private hire vehicle
  3. Not of a design and appearance that would lead any person to believe that the vehicle is a Hackney Carriage
  4. In a suitable mechanical condition
  5. Safe
  6. Comfortable
  7. Has an insurance policy in place covering private hire work for all drivers.
To help us determine an application, all proposed private hire vehicles must comply with the conditions (pdf, 326kb) of the licence

All vehicles must be kept in exceptional condition at all times.  Exceptional condition is defined as:

The exterior of all licensed vehicles shall be maintained in a clean, safe and proper manner at all times. In particular, the exterior of the vehicle shall:


(i)      be free of dents;

(ii)      be free of visible rust;

(iii)     be free of any scratches over 10cm in length;

(iv)    be free of unrepaired accident damage;

(v)     have uniform paintwork equivalent to that applied by the manufacturer;

(vi)    not be missing any exterior trim;

(vii)    have all 4 hub caps (if part of the original specification) present, matching and scuff free; and

(viii)   be maintained in an acceptable state of cleanliness.

The interior of all licensed vehicles shall be maintained in a clean, safe and proper manner at all times. In particular, the interior of the vehicle shall:

(i)      be free of stains to the upholstery including carpets, and door trim;

(ii)      be free of splits and tears to the passenger seats;

(iii)     be maintained in an acceptable state of cleanliness;

(iv)    have no edges or damaged items likely to cause injury to a passenger;

(v)     be free from damp and odour that may cause passenger discomfort; and

(vi)    provide seats functioning in accordance with the manufacturers’ specification.

The applicant must also submit the following original documentation in addition to the Private Hire Vehicle Grant Application Form (pdf, 117kb) and the appropriate fee:

  1. Full V5C registration document for the proposed vehicle which must show the vehicle to be registered by the applicant (exceptions can be made where the vehicle is retained due to a hire purchase agreement - evidence will be required)
  2. Insurance certificate covering private hire work for all proposed drivers
  3. Depot test certificate (also known as a compliance certificate)
  4. MOT certificate
  5. Proof of vehicle tax
  6. Meter calibration certificate (only required when a taximeter is installed in the vehicle)
  7. Passenger lift certificate (if the vehicle has a lift fitted)
  8. Single Vehicle Approval or Individual Vehicle Approval certificate (limousines and novelty vehicles only).

Tests are carried out at our Depot.  Appointments can be made by using the Depot Test Booking System.  A fee of £31.00 is payable at the time of booking in order to secure your appointment.  The remaining balance of £159 is payable on submission of the application form.

Once you have passed the Depot test, the application form, original supporting documentation and relevant fee can be handed in at reception. There is no need to take a ticket. Reception will copy your original documents. The fee can be paid at the payment tills located in reception.

We will accept copies of the insurance policy direct from the insurance company via email. An applicant is also able to forward an email from the insurance company onto us.

If you are not able to submit the full V5 as the vehicle has just been purchased, then the green slip will be sufficient for the application as proof of ownership of the vehicle. The full V5 must be submitted within two weeks of the grant of the licence.

An application will not be validated until all of the above documents have been received. Once a valid application has been received, we aim to determine the application within five working days

Tinted Windows Policy

From 1st July 2019, all new private hire vehicle licence applications must comply with the Council’s Private Hire Licensing Policy with regards to tinted windows which states:

For safety reasons, it must be possible to be able to observe the driver and the passenger(s) being carried in a licensed vehicle.  Many licensed vehicles are used for the carriage of children and vulnerable adults and for this reason vehicles which have tinted windows which prevent clear vision into the vehicle will not be licensed.   The minimum light transmission permitted for the wind screen is 75% and all other windows in the licensed vehicle shall be 70%. 

The only exception to this requirement is for executive type vehicles being used exclusively for executive hire, corporate contracts or work of a similar nature.  A request for exemption should be submitted in writing with supporting evidence. 

When purchasing new or used vehicles for use as a private hire vehicle, vehicle proprietors are advised to contact the Licensing Department to ensure the vehicle is compliant with the required light transmission values.’

Once granted, the vehicle must comply with the conditions attached to the licence at all times.

Six monthly test

If granted, the licence will last for one year.  Another depot test will be due after six months to ensure the continued safety of the vehicle. We will write to remind you to arrange the Depot test which can be booked in the same way. Failure to have your vehicle tested will result in the suspension of the private hire vehicle licence until the test is passed. If the vehicle fails the test, the private hire vehicle licence will be suspended until the vehicle passes another test. 

There will be a retest fee of £31 if the vehicle fails the Depot test.

CCTV in private hire vehicles

CCTV can be installed in private hire vehicles provided the CCTV Policy (pdf, 247kb) is complied with - check this before purchasing a CCTV system. Once the CCTV system has been purchased, complete and return the CCTV request form (pdf, 222kb) and we will then arrange an inspection of the system.