Licensing of new or replacement hackney carriage and private-hire vehicles.

When a vehicle is licensed, checks are ordinarily made by officers in respect of the operation of top lights; condition of body work, and interior; presence of fire extinguisher; first aid kit, etc. Additionally a meter test is undertaken to ensure that taximeters are calibrated effectively, and there is no risk of over-charging members of the public.In light of the current situation, it is not proposed to enter hackney carriage or private hire vehicles at this time to undertake these checks or complete meter tests, and therefore a time limited derogation from the current procedure and Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy is currently operating as follows: 

  • Officers will ask for photographs to evidence vehicle condition inside and out; presence of meter; top light (on and off); fire-extinguisher; and first aid kit.
  • Plates will be sent out in the post.
  • No meter test will be undertaken, and meters will remain unsealed.

NOTE: A licence plate being displayed on a licensed vehicle is deemed of paramount importance in terms of public confidence. As such the above derogation exists only in circumstances where vehicle plates can continue to be made by the Council, and posted to vehicle proprietors.  

Hackney carriage and private hire MOTs and garage tests

The Department for Transport has now released guidance in relation to vehicle MOT’s:

From 30 March 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months, and lorries, buses, and trailers for 3 months . This is being done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

You will be aware that the Council does not have a nominated MOT testing station, any authorised MOT station can be used. The Government has not taken a decision to close MOT stations, garages or repair shops due to the risks posed by vehicles continuing to be used. As such, if appropriate testing stations remain open then taxis and private hire vehicles should remain in possession of a current MOT.

We are mindful that the current situation is unprecedented, and as such if issues arise in gaining tests, we would wish to further note, that vehicles must be in a roadworthy condition for the exemption to be valid. Therefore it is just as important now as it has always been, that drivers ensure that the vehicle they are using is FULLY compliant with the law and that any identifiable defects such as blown bulbs, defective tyres etc. are repaired. If you are not able to have the vehicle repaired so that it is in a roadworthy condition, it must be withdrawn from service.

Hackney carriage and private hire vehicle inspections

The Council’s policy indicates that a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle shall be tested once per year until it is 6 years old, and thereafter twice per year, at six monthly intervals. The test must be carried out by an authorised MOT examiner at an approved MOT testing station, and conducted against the prescribed inspection checklist. This is in addition to an MOT, which for Hackney Carriages is required at 1 year old and thereafter for taxis and at 3 years old and thereafter for private hire vehicles.

Due to fact that garages are not being required to close, the same principles will apply in that if a test can still be undertaken, it should be completed. However if a situation arises whereby garage tests are unable to be undertaken, the same extension of time as for MOT test periods (six months) will also be applied to garage tests.

COVID-19 update - Taxis & PHV's

Taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice is absolutely clear - people should stay at home if possible. That is the way to save lives and protect our NHS. The public should avoid travel unless absolutely essential. The only reasons to leave our houses are set out in the government guidance.

Clearly if absolutely necessary to travel by taxi or private hire vehicle, best efforts should be used to follow the guidance as far as is practically possible, including washing your hands as soon as you get home.

Critical Worker Status

Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered Critical Workers. Those undertaking Home to School transport or the transport of ‘extremely vulnerable’ people may be considered Critical Workers on a case-by-case basis. Critical Workers should also whenever possible make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home; requests for children to attend school should be discussed with the school.”

Current temporary arrangements due to Covid-19

The Ilfracombe Centre and The Amory Centre are both temporarily closed and Lynton House is offering a very limited service.

Therefore it is advised where possible that your application is made via email scanning appropriate documents to:

Payments can be made by card by contacting customer services on: 01271 388870 or by BACS Account no: 03956504, Sort Code: 60-02-03, Ref: please use the ‘our ref’ code stated on the front of your enclosed letter.

It may not be possible to issue the plate or drivers badge at this time. However, we will endeavour to issue a licence via email. For this purpose it is essential we have your correct email address and request you include this clearly on your application.

Please Note: Due to the current situation we are unable to plate any new vehicles or check any meters.


Apply to be a taxi or private hire driver

How to apply or renew your private hire or taxi driver licence

Apply to licence a taxi or private hire vehicle

How to apply or renew a taxi or private hire vehicle licence

Apply for a private hire operator licence

What you need to set up as a private hire operator and how to apply

Taxi ranks

Find taxi ranks across the district

Information for taxi passengers

How to check for a licensed taxi, report a taxi driver's behaviour or tell us if you think a taxi is unlicensed

Information for taxi and private hire drivers

Council newsletters and other information for taxi and private hire drivers.

Horse drawn hackney carriage licences

Information on how to apply for a non-motorised hackney carriage licence

Taxi or Hackney carriage fares

Hackney carriage tariff - effective from 26 April 2016

Taxi Licensing Consultation

Consultation on proposed amendments to the licensing policy