Taxi & minicab licence

Local authorities are responsible for licensing hackney carriages, private hire vehicles, drivers and private hire operators.

The latest information regarding taxi licensing in Northumberland, and how this is impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Important coronavirus update - Hackney carriage/Private hire licensing

Due to emergency steps being taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Northumberland County Council has introduced a simplified process for the renewal of driver and vehicle licences. This simplified process will remain in place until it is considered reasonable to return to standard operating procedures.

As a temporary measure, driver badges and vehicle plates will not be issued. Instead, an acknowledgement will be e-mailed to you. You must carry this with you whenever you are working in order to prove that you, or your vehicle, are still licensed.

Drivers
Currently drivers can only apply for a one-year licence. 
 
Under this process there is currently no requirement to produce a DBS check or medical certificate at this time. You will be required to submit further information once we are in a position to produce the licence. 

Vehicles
Under this process there is currently no requirement to produce a certificate of compliance at this time. You will be required to submit further information once we are in a position to produce the licence. 
 
At this current time Northumberland County Council cannot carry out any MOTs or compliance tests as all garages are closed. There is no requirement to submit the MOT due to the extension for MOTs that the Government has put in place as of 25 March 2020, however all vehicles must continue to have the appropriate insurance.
 
Unfortunately at the current time, no new applications will be accepted.

All contact with the licensing department must be made by e-mail:
A hackney carriage is a public transport vehicle with no more than eight passenger seats and is licensed for customers to hire. It may stand at ranks, be hailed in the street by members of the public, or can be used on a pre-booked basis.


Hackney Carriage licensing - Coronavirus updates

Click here to see the latest information about hackney carriage licensing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

As a result of local government reorganisation in Northumberland, there are currently six hackney carriage zones:

  1. Alnwick 

  2. Berwick-upon-Tweed 

  3. Blyth Valley 

  4. Castle Morpeth 

  5. Tynedale

  6. Wansbeck 

A hackney carriage licensed in one zone may not be licensed for hire in another in Northumberland, or elsewhere in the country. Relevant bylaws apply to each zone, to control the conduct of both proprietors and drivers.
The law allows a council to require that a hackney carriage is clearly identified through design features. The council has applied standards for hackney carriages to ensure they are:

  • suitable in type, size and design
  • in a suitable mechanical condition
  • safe
  • comfortable

In addition to the above general requirements, the council has exercised its discretion to apply the following standards:

  • clear display of a licence plate provided by the council on the exterior of the vehicle. It must be securely attached to the rear of the vehicle by rivets, bolts or screws, an alternative location may be agreed upon to accommodate the vehicle design.
  • fitted with an approved taxi meter and sealed to the satisfaction of the council
  • clear display of a council-supplied door marker, placed centrally on each of the front doors of the vehicle. The markers are to be securely fixed to the vehicle doors at all times.
  • fitted with a roof sign of a particular size and design. Please see here for more details about Hackney Carriage roof signs.
  • display the vehicle licensing details inside the vehicle in a form provided by the council
  • permit any passenger to communicate with the driver, either directly or through an approved communication system
  • have adequate space for luggage and folded wheelchair
  • each individual seat must be a minimum of 400mm (16") in width. The council may reduce the permitted number of passengers specified by the vehicle manufacturer. The licensing officer will determine this if the seating doesn’t conform, or for other reasons associated with the comfort and safety of passengers.

Applications for a new hackney carriage vehicle licence must demonstrate a vehicle suitable in type, size and construction to carry people in wheelchairs.

 
Annual vehicle fee (including door insignia and plate) £226
Annual LPG fee (including door insignia and plate) £204
Replacement plate £28
Replacement insignias £9 each
 
Private hire vehicles must have no more than eight passenger seats and must be booked in advance through a licensed private hire operator. They cannot be hired in the street.

Private hire licensing - Coronavirus updates

Click here to see the latest information about private hire vehicle licensing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Any vehicle used as a private hire vehicle must be licensed under section 48(1)(a) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, which requires the council to be satisfied that any vehicle is:
  • suitable in type, size and design 
  • not have a design and appearance that may lead a person to believe it is a hackney carriage
  • in a suitable, safe mechanical condition
  • comfortable
In addition to the statutory requirements as set out above, the council has exercised its discretion and private hire vehicles must also:
  • not be fitted with a roof sign of any description. This could lead a person to believe that the vehicle is a hackney carriage.
  • clearly display a licence plate provided by the council on the exterior of the rear of the vehicle. This must be securely attached to the vehicle by rivets, bolts or screws.
  • display a door marker supplied by the council centrally on each of the front doors of the vehicle. The markers should be securely fixed to vehicle doors at all times.
  • display the vehicle licensing details inside the vehicle in a form provided by the council.
  • permit any passenger to communicate with the driver, either directly or through an approved communication system.
  • have a boot or load carrying area with adequate space for the safe and secure storage of luggage. Saloon or estate vehicles should not have this area within the passenger compartment. This area should never interfere with the safe access and exit of passengers and the minimum space required must allow a folded wheelchair to be carried.
If the vehicle is fitted with a meter, it must be properly tested, sealed and approved by the council.
The seating capacity of the vehicle will be determined by the council. Each individual seat must be a minimum of 400mm (16") in width. If the seating does not conform to this, or if the comfort and safety of the passengers is questioned, the council may reduce the permitted number of passengers.
 
Annual vehicle fee (including door insignia and plate) £226
Annual LPG fee (including door insignia and plate) £204
Replacement plate £28
Replacement insignias £9 each
Vehicle transfer between licensees fee £33
 
To issue a licence, the council must be satisfied the applicant is fit to hold a driver’s licence and has been entitled to drive a motor car for at least 12 months.

Driver licensing - Coronavirus updates

Click here to see the latest information about driver licensing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The council’s duty is to ensure that conditions are met, and each applicant must be able to demonstrate this. In addition to the statutory requirements, the council will exercise its discretion and all applicants are subject to additional conditions.

All new applicants for driver’s licences will be required to:
  • pass a test
  • submit a medical certificate
  • provide access to their driving entitlement/endorsements
  • apply for an enhanced disclosure and barring service certificate (DBS) 
  • provide proof of their identity and entitlement to work in the UK
Please click here for a sample list of questions you may get on the Hackney Carriage test

DBS Applications:
We are now offering applicants the opportunity to use an online system to submit DBS applications.

The website address is: disclosure.capitarvs.co.uk/nereo/
The organisation reference is: NCCPPL
Password:  NCC

Please click here for guidance notes on this system.

For specific queries regarding medical issues or criminal convictions, please contact the licensing section for informal advice.
National Register (NR3)

Northumberland County Council has signed up to the national register of revoked and refused hackney carriage and private hire drivers (known as NR3). As such, any driver who has had their drivers licence revoked, or had their application refused, will have their details recorded on this register.

This is being done to protect the public by ensuring that licensing authorities are aware of drivers who have been refused or revoked when determining whether a new licence application should be granted.

If you have had or have your driver’s licence revoked, or a driver’s application refused, your details will be submitted to the NR3 register.

For more information on this matter please refer to our policy on the National Register of Taxi Licence Revocations and Refusals (NR3).
 
Driver annual fee (including badge) £78
Driver fee (two year licence) £112
Driver fee (three year licence) £146
Replacement badge £12
Additional drivers for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire £30
Replacement badge £12
Driver knowledge test (initial test) £23
Driver knowledge test (re-sit) £23
DBS application fee £44
DBS admin fee £23
 
A Private Hire vehicle may only be dispatched to a customer by a person or a company that holds an operator's licence. Such a licence permits the operator to invite or accept bookings for a Private Hire vehicle.

 
Operator (five years) £502
Operator (one year) £106
 
Here you will find information on licensing fees.