Hackney carriage and private hire licences

Hackney carriage and private hire

You need a licence to drive a taxi (sometimes called a hackney carriage) or a private hire vehicle.

You need an operator’s licence to run a taxi or private hire vehicle company.

Taxis can be flagged down in the street or they can pick up from taxi ranks. They must have an illuminated roof sign and a white identification plate on the rear of the vehicle. Fares are metered.

Private hire vehicles must be pre-booked through a private hire operator. They must have a green identification on the rear of the vehicle. They can set their own fares.

All licensed drivers and vehicles must undergo stringent checks to ensure that the travelling public are provided with a safe, comfortable and reliable service.

Licensing a vehicle

Before a vehicle can be licensed it has to be of a model and age acceptable to the council and have passed a mechanical inspection at the council depot.

The vehicle must be no more than 5 years old, taken from the date on the registration document.

The licensing department provides a list of models of vehicles it has accepted for licensing and is willing to examine any vehicle that may be appropriate.

The license will last for a year from the date of issue.

Important information

National Register of Taxi Licence Refusals and Revocations (NR3)

The licensing authority provides information to the National Register of Taxi Licence Refusals and Revocations (NR3), a mechanism for licensing authorities to share details of individuals who have had a hackney carriage or Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) licence revoked, or an application for one refused. This is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the licensing authority – that is, assessing whether an individual is a fit and proper person to hold a hackney carriage or PHV licence


  • Where a hackney carriage/ PHV licence is revoked, or an application for one refused, the authority will automatically record this decision on NR3.
  • All applications for a new licence or licence renewal will automatically be checked on NR3. If a search of NR3 indicates a match with an applicant, the authority will seek further information about the entry on the register from the authority which recorded it. Any information received as a result of an NR3 search will only be used in respect of the specific license application and will not be retained beyond the determination of that application.

You have a number of rights on how your data is used, including the right to object, for more information on your rights see Privacy policy | Havant Borough Council

Tax conditionality check

From 4 April 2022 the renewal of a taxi driver licence, private hire driver licence and private hire operator licence will only be given if the person, company or any type of partnership applying for the licence can show they have completed a tax check with the HMRC. 

If a tax check has not been completed, the Licensing Authority will be unable to consider your application to renew your licence and your current licence will expire. Further guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website

The issuing of vehicle licences and plates

In accordance with Section 16 of the Transport Act 1985 there is a limit of 40 Hackney Carriage Licences in the Havant Borough.

Currently there are some licences available please contact the Licensing Team via licensing@havant.gov.uk to express your interest in a Hackney Carriage Licence.

Vehicle renewal letters and application forms are sent out two months before the existing licence expires. Please do not delay arranging the mechanical test for the vehicle once you have received the renewal reminder. 

After the vehicle has past the mechanical test, please email the completed application form with all the supporting documentation requested to licensing@havant.gov.uk. If your application is incorrect or incomplete, it will be rejected and returned to you.  

You currently need to allow at least 7 working days from emailing the correctly completed paperwork for the team to process your application and put the licence and plate in the post. Licences/Plates are posted via first class mail. 

If the vehicle licence has not be successfully renewed and you have not received the new licence/plate before the old licence expires, the vehicle will not be licensed, and therefore will not be able to be used for hackney carriage/private hire work.

Changing your licensed vehicle

If you change the vehicle on your licence for another vehicle during the year, a new licence for the vehicle would be issued with a new expiry date, generally a year from the date of issue. The full fee would be charged.

Selling your licensed vehicle

If you sell your licensed vehicle, you are required to notify the Licensing Department in writing of the name and address of the person to whom the vehicle has been sold to. This must be done within 14 days of the sale.

If you surrender or cancel your licence, there is currently no provision for refunds on the unused portion.

Having an accident in your licensed vehicle

If the accident affects the appearance, performance or safety of the use of which it is licensed, you must report the accident to the council as soon as reasonably practicable and in any case within 72 hours of the accident.

Failure to do so may jeopardise any insurance claim.

If you need to contact the Licensing Team, please use the contact us form online or email licensing@havant.gov.uk.

Courier Fraud Leaflet

Fraudsters have been using unsuspecting couriers and taxi drivers to steal thousands of pounds from elderly or vulnerable members of the public.

If you are, or you know, a taxi driver, we need your help to prevent further crimes and to catch those responsible. FInd out more in the leaflet from Hampshire Constabulary below: