Private Hire vehicle licensing
Any vehicle that seats eight passengers or less and is available for hire with a driver requires a licence. Licensed private hire vehicles may only be driven by persons holding a private hire driver's licence issued by the same council issuing the vehicle licence.
All private hire vehicles used for day to day private hire must be less than three years old at first licence. Applicants must be prepared to permanently affix licence plates and ‘no booking no ride’ stickers to the vehicle for the period of the licence.
Certain private hire vehicles may be licensed up to seven years of age. They may be exempted from displaying licence plates or the council's door signage where the vehicle meets the council’s exemption policy. The exemption policy relates to companies wishing to carry out only corporate/executive hire chauffeur type work. This requires a higher specification/prestigious vehicle for which a premium fare would be expected to be charged.
All vehicles must comply with the council's specification for licensed private hire vehicles. A strict compliance test is required for all vehicles. This includes a normal MOT plus a minimum standard relating to the overall safety and cosmetic condition of the vehicle.
All licensed vehicles undergo strict mechanical testing during the period of the licence. The frequency of testing depends upon the vehicle age. The standard applied by the testing station is that contained in the 'Vehicle standards inspection manual'. A copy of this document can be viewed in the documents section at the bottom of the page.
Licensing Officers must approve any form of advertising before any promotional material can be applied to licensed private hire vehicles. Officers will have regard to our Licensing Vehicle Advertising Policy. Advertising on licensed private hire vehicles is restricted to promoting private hire operators only.
The current fees for private hire vehicle licences can be viewed on the licence fees page
You can apply for a new private hire vehicle licence by downloading a guidance and application pack below. The guidance pack outlines the procedure to be followed to apply for a new private hire vehicle licence. It includes all application forms, fees, the private hire vehicle specification and the council’s policy on vehicles approved for exemption.
Applicants must ensure a vehicle meets the private hire vehicle specification and exemption policy (where applicable) before purchasing a vehicle. If the proposed vehicle does not meet all the required criteria, it will not be licensed. All seats and configurations of seats must meet the specification across the full width and depth. Where leg room specification is compromised by centre console or the dashboard these vehicles will not be licensed. All passenger seats must also be directly accessible without the need to move of fold other seats. If seats have to be moved to allow passengers in and out of other seats the licence will be granted with a reduced number of permitted passengers. If you have any queries after reading the guidance and application pack please contact the Licensing Team.
Existing licence holders will be sent a renewal reminder 4 to 8 weeks before your licence is due for renewal. Renewal application forms are not available to download online. Please contact the Licensing Team to request a renewal reminder pack if you have not received one in the timescales.
Making a change to an existing licence
Further guidance is also available below for vehicle proprietors who need to notify the Licensing Team of changes, including:
- to an existing vehicle licence
- a change to your details
- transferring the ownership of an existing licensed vehicle
- updating a vehicle licence to reflect a change of registration number
- applying for a temporary vehicle licence in the event that your vehicle is involved in an accident.
All private hire vehicle licences are issued subject to compliance with the standard private hire vehicle licence conditions. Details are available below for your information.
Private Hire Vehicle guidance and application pack - 2019-20(PDF) [551 kb]
Temporary vehicle guidance pack 2019-20(PDF) [242 kb]
Change of details guidance pack(PDF) [192 kb]
Change of registration guidance Pack 2019-20(PDF) [147 kb]
Sale or transfer of a vehicle owner guidance pack 2019-20(PDF) [344 kb]
Private Hire Vehicle licence conditions(PDF) [190 kb]
Private Hire vehicle - guidance on driver partition screens(PDF) [20 kb]
Vehicle standards inspection manual(PDF) [362 kb]
Private Hire Vehicle Specification(PDF) [162 kb]