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Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing

Vehicle Exceptional Condition



The term “exceptional condition” is used to describe vehicles which are over any age limit set by the Council, but that can continue to be licensed because of their condition. Case law dictates that it is necessary to have such a condition because it is illegal for a Local Authority to have a blanket policy for all vehicles that is inflexible. (See Sharpe v Nottingham City Council, February 1981)

Any Council which imposes an age limit on its vehicles must be prepared to consider applications from vehicles that are in “exceptional condition” and the following specification is a guide to suggest the type of vehicles that Kettering Borough Council will consider.

A vehicle of “exceptional condition” is one where the components i.e. mechanical, body panels, paint and trim are in an exceptional condition with regard to the age of the vehicle.

It is essential that the image of an exceptional older vehicle upholds the standards normally set by a much younger vehicle.

Key items that will be considered when determining whether or not a vehicle meets the standard expected of vehicles in “exceptional condition” are set out below:

  1. The underside condition of the vehicle does not show any signs of rusting or age, or deterioration.
  2. Mechanical condition is such that there should be no item that may show age, deterioration or cause or contribute to a less than safe, comfortable passenger ride.
  3. Bodywork should be in near perfect condition with no signs of panel age deterioration, dents or any other abrasions that may detract from the overall appearance of the vehicle.
  4. General paint condition should not show signs of fading, discolouration or mismatching and retain a finish generally found on much younger vehicles.
  5. Interior trims, panels, seating and carpets etc should be of a condition that is free from frayed, discoloured, faded or torn components.
  6. The passenger compartment should be free from damp or any other odours that may cause passenger discomfort.

Ultimately, the decision on whether or not a car can continue to be licensed under the proviso that it is in “exceptional condition” would have to be judged on the merits of each vehicle. Consideration would also have to be given to the type of vehicle, engine size, mileage and the fact that in the case of a Private Hire Vehicle, it is going to be used as a licensed vehicle rather than a family saloon.