Vehicle Requirements for Taxis

East Herts has imposed a number of conditions in relation to the type of vehicle that it will allow to be licensed as a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire vehicle.

Vehicle requirements

For a vehicle to be licensed it must:

  • be capable of carrying at least four and no more than eight passengers;
  • have a minimum engine size of 1600cc or produce a minimum of 89bhp;
  • have a minimum of four opening doors, two on each side of the vehicle with the exception of London style taxis;
  • have a minimum passenger seat width of 16" (41cms) per passenger;
  • be finished in a manufacturer's standard colour;
  • comply with the Vehicle Age and Emissions Policy
  • be maintained to a high mechanical standard;
  • be maintained to a high visual standard of appearance both internally and externally.

Vehicles that fall outside of the policy will still be considered but please contact the Licensing Team to discuss the matter before purchasing a vehicle.

Full details of the vehicle requirements can be found in the Drivers Handbook.  if you would like to licence your vehicle or renew an existing licence, please fill in our vehicle licence application form

Vehicle Age & Emissions Policy

This new Vehicle Age & Emissions Policy [134KB] which applies to both new and renewing vehicle licences has been produced to take into account changes in vehicles over recent years. The main consideration when licensing vehicles is the safety of the vehicle, however, it is recognised that high importance is placed on tackling poor air quality, particularly within the district's three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) in Bishop's Stortford, Hertford and Sawbridgeworth.

Following public consultation the policy was approved by Council on 5th March 2019 and came into effect on the 1st April 2019.

For a vehicle to be licensed for the first time or to remain licensed (a renewal) it must meet both the age and emission part of the policy which are:

From 1st April 2023:

  • New vehicles will not be licensed if they are more than 5 years old or do not meet or exceed Euro 6 emissions standards
  • Renewing vehicles will not be licensed if they are more than 10 years old at the time of application or do not meet or exceed Euro 6 emissions standards
Table showing emission standards changes

Emissions Standard

Applied to new registrations from

Euro 5

1st January 2011

Euro 6

1st September 2015

The table is a guide and you can check the emissions of your vehicle using an online checker but it is recommended you contact the vehicle manufacturer to check your car's standard is if you are unsure.

When will the different criteria be applied?

If the licence of a currently licensed Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle is allowed to EXPIRE by its proprietor then any subsequent application will NOT be considered as a renewal. This means that where an existing vehicle licences expires, a subsequent application for a licence for that vehicle will be treated as a first time application and the standards and criteria relating to first time applications will be applied.

For the avoidance of doubt when a new vehicle has an existing plate transferred onto it the vehicle will be considered under the criteria for a vehicle being licensed for the first time.

This brief summary is not a substitute for reading the policy in detail which can be downloaded from this page. Applications to licence vehicles which fall outside of the policy will be considered on their own merits.

Limit on Hackney Carriage Vehicle Numbers

Following an Unmet Demand Survey and consultation, East Herts Council has taken the decision to increase the number of Hackney Carriage vehicle licences it issues to 210. 

There is a process in place for people to express an interest in being granted one of the available plates. Expressions of interest can be made using the link below and will open at 09:00 on the 1 December 2023 and close at 09:00 on the 15 December 2023. This process will be repeated no more frequently than quarterly depending on the availability of plates.

Licences will be awarded according to the criteria at the start of the expression of interest document which you should read carefully before completing the required information. Points will be given to fully wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV’s), fully electric vehicles (EV’s) and newer vehicles with cleaner emissions in line with the documented criteria.

Click here to express an interest in applying for a Hackney Carriage vehicle licence. 

You don’t have to be an existing member of the licensed trade to express an interest as it is open to everyone.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV's)

East Herts actively encourages the licensing of fully Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV's). If you are unsure if your vehicle qualifies as a WAV or not then please get in touch.

Electric Vehicles (EV's)

East Herts actively encourages the licensing of fully Electric Vehicles (EV's) and is involved in a number of projects to improve the charging infrastructure for electric taxis and allow drivers to trial Electric Vehicles (Herts 2025 project). 

Documents required to licence a vehicle

When applying to licence a vehicle certain documents will need to be presented:

  • V5 registration document
  • Valid insurance showing the correct cover
  • MOT certificate
  • Vehicle Condition Certificate (VCC Pass)
  • Meter Calibration Certificate (Hackney Carriage vehicle only)
  • The Road Tax and MOT validity will be checked by Council officers through the national online register

Testing Stations authorised to issue Vehicle Condition Certificates

With effect from 1st January 2018 the Vehicle condition inspection will include not only the mechanical standards but visual and cosmetic appearance and meter operation in one combined test.

If the vehicle is over 5 years old and being licensed for the first time the Licensing Team will need to see it first before it goes to an approved garage for a VCC inspection.

If licensed vehicles presented for test fail a VCC inspection, the testing station is authorised to remove the licence plate and associated equipment at the conclusion of the inspection. You will not be permitted to use the unexpired vehicle condition certificate to continue operating, whilst rectifying the fault. Retests must be carried out by the same testing station that originally failed the vehicle although the required works can be carried out elsewhere.

DJ Garage Services Ltd
5 Jest & Ruskin Industrial Estate, Amwell Lane, Stanstead Abbotts, Stanstead St Margarets SG12 8EB
Tel: (01920) 465431/2

Harlow Auto Centre
24 Burnt Mill, Harlow, CM20 2HS
Tel: (01279) 641083 or (01992) 535756

Bloomfield Motor Services
Rear of Swift House, River Way, Harlow Essex, CM20 2DW
Tel: (01279) 420224

Orchard Works Garage
Unit 3 Clarklands Ind Est, Parsonage Lane, Sawbridgeworth CM21 0NG
Tel: (01279) 723371

DM Tyre & MOT Ltd
Unit 18 Dicker Mill
Hertford SG13 7AE
Tel: (01992) 538366

Bridge Works MOT Centre
Hall Green , Little Hallingbury , Bishops Stortford, CM22 7RP
Tel: (01279) 730888

Highline Autos
4 Merchant Drive, Hertford, Herts, SG13 7BH
Tel: (01992 535513)

Signs and advertising

The two forward door panels may be used to advertise the taxi company details and the rear door panels can be used for other advertising subject to approval from the Licensing Team. Sun strips, 'All over' advertising on London style taxis and signs on the rear screens of vehicles will not be approved.