Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licencing

Specification for Licensing of Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles (not renewals)

Policy for the Licensing of Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles by Kettering Borough Council (not renewals)


Kettering Borough Council is the licensing authority for hackney carriages and private hire vehicles operated within its area. This policy details the standards which will be applied before any vehicle is licenced.

While this policy does not prevent the Authority from using its discretion in this matter, the Authority does not envisage departing from it unless evidence of exceptional circumstances are provided. The fact that any particular type of vehicle is currently licensed by the Authority is not considered exceptional circumstances for it to be continued to be licensed in the same manner going forward.

Hackney Carriages

For a vehicle to be licensed as a hackney carriage it will:

a.    At first licence be no more than four years old from date of first registration;

b.    Cease to be licensed at a date 10 years from the date of first registration unless the vehicle passes the exceptional vehicle standard;

c.    Be wheelchair accessible from the side. Wheelchair accessibility from the rear will not be accepted.

d.    Be purpose built having manufacturer installed permanent "taxi" roof light and wheelchair restraints built into a bulkhead, separating the rear passenger compartment from the drivers/front compartment, with two or three drop-down rear-facing seats attached thereto

e.    Have EU Whole Vehicle Type Approval or UK Low Volume Type Approval in its final format

f.    All vehicles shall be capable of admitting and carrying at least one person sitting in a wheelchair and shall have provided efficient fastenings to secure the chair and passenger to sit comfortably in an upright position in the chair without obstruction to any part of the body.

g.    Ramps or other means of transferring the wheelchair into and out of the vehicle shall be provided so that at no time is the passenger caused discomfort or distress by the process of entering or leaving the vehicle.

Private Hire Vehicles

For a vehicle to be licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle it will:

a.    At first licence be no more than four years old from date of first registration;

b.    Cease to be licensed at a date 10 years from the date of first registration unless the vehicle passes the exceptional vehicle standard;

c.    With the exception of a vehicle being a licensed hackney carriage used for private hire purposes in accordance with Section 67 of the 1976 Act, licensed vehicles shall be four door saloons of not less than the manufacturer’s nominal standard of 1.3 litres (ie not less than 1295 cc). The term “saloon” shall include hatchback, estate or MPV type vehicles specifically designed as passenger carrying vehicles.

Stretched Limousines

Stretched Limousines may be licensed as Private Hire Vehicles on application subject to the following:

a.    At first licence be no more than four years old from date of first registration (not just in UK);

b.    Cease to be licensed at a date 10 years from the date of first registration unless the vehicle passes the exceptional vehicle standard;

c.    Not be capable of carrying more than 8 passengers, calculated by available seat space at 400mm per passenger (taking account of loss of seating for “L” shaped seats) and number of seat belts.

General Conditions

The following conditions apply to any vehicle being considered for licensing.

a.    All vehicles will be of one colour, that colour being one of the manufacturer’s standard colours.

b.    No seat or part of a seat, other than a wheelchair, in a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle shall be less than 400mm wide per passenger. This is to be measured across the approximate centre line between the front and rear of the seat base. The measurement will relate to available seat space and will not take account of any part of the seat which is covered or overhung by a part of the interior of the car. This includes any part of a door which when closed affects the availability of seating space. *

c.    Where the number of passengers permitted by available seat width is less than the number applied for, the licence will be issued with a seating condition. This will state the number of passengers permitted to be carried and any limitations on where in the vehicle those passengers may sit to meet the requirements of this restriction.

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Where a vehicle meets the requirements above, it will be considered for licensing. However the Head of Public Services reserves the right to refuse any such vehicle where it is considered unsuitable for the purpose on the grounds of condition, design or any other relevant reason.

Where there is any doubt as to whether a vehicle will meet these conditions, then it is important that contact is made with this office 01536 410333 or licensing@kettering.gov.uk before doing anything further.

* this Authority is aware that as at July 2015, the front passenger seat of the Citroen Despatch is not wide enough to be licensed for 2 passengers. As supplied by Citroen the vehicle does not meet this Authority’s minimum dimensions for 2 persons and hackney carriage conversions have been seen to reduce this further. This should be checked if consideration is being given to buying this model of vehicle.