Vehicle licence

Apply for a vehicle licence

 For all new vehicle applications, please ensure you check that the vehicle is at least Euro 6 emission standards.

Please ensure you have checked the age requirements for licensed vehicles, as outlined below, prior to applying.

A Vehicle used as a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle has to be roadworthy and meet standards of safety and access. In determining if a Vehicle is being used for private hire purposes and needs to be licensed, we will have regard to legislation and to the guidance issued by Department for Transport (DFT).

The conditions set by us require both Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles to display the licence plate on the rear of the vehicle. 

A Hackney Carriage is required to display a white plate and a Private Hire Vehicle must display a yellow plate, unless exempt.

Hackney Carriages must be wheelchair accessible, white and display council levy.

By licensing and regularly checking the drivers, operators and Vehicles, we are able to ensure that the public are offered as safe a service as possible.

Our licensing service issues licences to allow the operation of a private hire service within the district, as defined under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and the Town Police Clauses Act 1847.

We issue 2 types of licences for drivers: a Hackney Carriage driver licence and a Private Hire driver licence.

These are 2 separate licences and therefore if any person wishes to hold both a Hackney Carriage and a Private Hire driver licence, they are required to submit 2 separate applications.

How to submit a Vehicle Licence application form

If you are submitting a Private Hire Vehicle Licence application, you do not require an appointment. Complete the online application form (including uploading a copy of the below documentation). We will then notify you when the licence and plate is ready (within 5 five working days from receipt of all correct documentation). If the application is incomplete, we will contact you. The application will be on hold until we have the missing documentation.

Applicants need to ensure they submit a complete application with all supporting documents at least 5 days prior to their licence expiry date. If not, there may be a period where you are unable to work.

Please note that:

  • renewals may only be applied for up to one calendar month before expiry
  • if a Vehicle licence is allowed to lapse, it will be treated as a new application

In order to licence a Vehicle, you will need to submit to us:

  • A completed online application form.
  • The full Vehicle Registration document (VQ5) or proof of ownership (this can be in the form of a receipt for payment) - the registration document must be in the name of the applicant or licensee. If you can only submit the VQ5’s green slip, then we require proof of ownership/payment as well.
  • MOT Certificate - for a new licence it must be no more than one calendar month old upon application. For a renewal licence it must also be no more than one calendar month old at the time of application. A renewal application must be submitted within one month prior to the licence expiry.
  • Certificate of Compliance - for a new licence, it must be no more than one calendar month old and issued at our same approved garage that issued the MOT certificate. For a renewal licence, it must also be no more than one calendar month old at the time of application and issued at our same approved garage that issued the MOT certificate.
  • Insurance Certificate - this certificate must cover hire and reward. Only one cover note will be permitted on application or renewal of a vehicle licence. Subsequently, we will require sight of an original full insurance document or certificate.
  • Basic Disclosure and Barring Service criminal records check - where the proprietor is not a holder of a Private Hire of Hackney Carriage Driver Licence or Operator Licence. A DBS will be required annually. 
  1. Grant - £156
  2. Renewal - £108
  3. Replacement Plate - £23 
  4. Replacement door signage (stickers) - £18
  5. Internal Vehicle Notice - £5

The above fees are payable on collection of the licence and plate.

Apply online:

Private Hire

This licence is valid for one year and all journeys have to be pre-booked through a booking office known as the Operators base. Private Hire Vehicles are not allowed to ply for hire or be hailed in the streets.

Private Hire Door Signage

Private Hire Vehicles must affix on the rear external passenger doors, in a prominent location, council issued door signage.

The Vehicle must display permanently on the driver and front passenger door, in a prominent position, the name and telephone number of the Operator fulfilling the booking.

Internal Vehicle Notice

In order to protect the public and to allow customers to correctly identify and report either a driver or a Vehicle which caused concern, we have determined that certain information must be displayed inside all licensed Vehicles, in the form of an Internal Vehicle Notice.

There must be a clear mechanism in place that informs any passenger of:

  • The business name of the operator, or proprietor, if it is a hackney carriage
  • The telephone number where a customer can make a complaint or report a concern
  • The Vehicle registration number, and
  • The Vehicle licence plate number

These notices must be displayed in a prominent position which can be easily read by a passenger travelling in the vehicle.

The cost for the Internal Vehicle Notice is £5.

This licence is valid for one year and entitles licensed Hackney Carriage drivers to ply for hire within the boundaries of South Cambridgeshire only. It does not entitle the driver to ply for hire or be hailed outside the District. Doing so is a serious breach of conditions and legislation. 

All Hackney Carriage Vehicles must be white in colour and wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV’s).

We must ensure that the travelling public are aware of the type of Vehicle they are using. Any Vehicle licensed by us as a Hackney Carriage must have our emblem signage on the bonnet, which is provided when the licence is collected from our Cambourne offices. Replacements can also be purchased at our offices.

In order to protect the public and to allow customers to correctly identify and report either a driver or a Vehicle which caused concern, the council has determined that certain information must be displayed inside all licensed Vehicles, in the form of an Internal Vehicle Notice.

There must be a clear mechanism in place that informs any passenger of:

  • The business name of the operator, or proprietor if it is a hackney carriage
  • The telephone number where a customer can make a complaint or report a concern
  • The Vehicle registration number
  • The Vehicle licence plate number

These notices must be displayed in a prominent position which can be easily read by a passenger travelling in the vehicle.

Please email taxis@scambs.gov.uk to order or for further information.

Air quality regulations

The Regulations above require all licensing authorities in England and Wales to submit certain information about their licensed taxis/PHVs to the database.

We must provide information to the Secretary of State in accordance with this regulation.

The information to be provided is, in relation to every relevant vehicle in respect of which a licence is granted under one of the licensing provisions:

  • the Vehicle registration mark of the vehicle
  • the date from which the licence has effect
  • the date on which the licence is due to expire
  • a statement whether the vehicle is a taxi or a private hire Vehicle
  • such other information the licensing authority holds in relation to the Vehicle that may be relevant for the purposes of ensuring the accurate identification of Vehicles, having had regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State
  • the licensing authority must provide the information at least as frequently as once a week

Data will be retained for a period of 7 years, for revenue purposes. Aggregated data may be retained for historic scientific analysis.

In line with the GDPR, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will be the Data Controller with responsibility to determine the purpose for which and the manner in which any personal data are, or are to be processed.

It is not intended that any data will be transferred out of the United Kingdom.

From 21 October 2022, the following amendments will take effect, which have been agreed so as to support the trade during the very difficult financial situation. In addition, the removal of age limits is in recognition of the draft revisions of the Department for Transport’s Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Standards which suggests that setting of an arbitrary age limit may be inappropriate and counterproductive and result in higher costs to the trade and ultimately passengers.

As an example of the revision, a 5 year old electric vehicle would produce less emissions than a 2 year old Euro 6 engine, and likewise, retaining a Euro 5 engine produces more harmful emissions than replacing with a Euro 6 engine. It is anticipated this policy revision will encourage owners of Euro 5 vehicles to switch to greener, less harmful emission vehicles, and support the Council’s green agenda:         

  • Until 1 December 2023, a new licence will be granted for a vehicle if it is at least Euro 6 compliant or zero or ultra-low emission.
  • Until 1 December 2023, a licence will be renewed only if it is at least Euro 5 emission standards.
  • From 1 December 2023, a licence will only be granted if it is Euro 6 compliant, Zero or ultra-low emissions category.
  • By no later than 1 December 2028, all licensed private hire and hackney carriage vehicles must be zero or ultra-low emission. This is to coincide with the restrictions for Cambridge City Centre access for Ultra-Low and Zero Emission licensed vehicles only. This aspect will be kept under review and may be modified by the Authority at a prior date.

The garages currently approved to carry out these inspections are:

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Garage name

Contact Number

A G Motors, Unit C2 Atria Court, Papworth Everard, CB23 3GY

01480 831807

Above All Autocentre Ltd, Sand Road Industrial Estate, Sand Road, Great Gransden, Bedfordshire, SG19 3AH

01767 679000

AutoKare Motors, Unit 6 & 7, 261-263 Barnwell Road, Cambridge, CB5 8SL

01223 412772

CamCabs, CamCab House, Coldhams Road, Cambridge, CB23 6EA

01223 414414

Cambridge Performance Tyres, 53, Clifton Road, Cambridge, CB1 7ED

01223 411441

Cambridge Vehicle Services, Unit A, The Global Centre, Swann Road, Cambridge, CB5 8JZ

01223 566475

C S C Automotive Ltd, 217 St Neots Road, Hardwick, Cambridge, CB23 7QJ

01954 210248

German Car Specialist Ltd, Unit 11, Cave Industrial Estate, Fen Road, Milton, Cambridge, CB4 1UN 

07909 228997

Godden Auto Services Ltd, Benet Garage, 61A Cambridge Road, Milton, CB24 6AW

01223 420380

KJL Motor Co, Units S1 & S2 Eastern Counties, Leather Industrial Estate, London Road, Pampisford, Cambridge, CB22 3EE

01223 830022

Linton Village Motors Ltd, Unit 3, Bourne Bridge Service Station, Abington, CB1 6AW

01223 830550

Melbourn Garage, 118 - 120 High Street, Melbourn, Royston, Hertfordshire, SG8 6AL

01763 259069

Murketts of Cambridge, 137 Histon Road, Cambridge, CB4 3JD

01223 706706

Halfords Auto Centre, Unit 19, Coral Park, Trading Estate, Henley Road, Cambridge, CB1 3DY

01223 352373

Cambridge Smart Cars Ltd, Units 3-6 Breckenwood Road, Fulbourn, Cambridge, CB21 5DQ

01223 881518

Panther Taxis, Convent Drive, Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9QT

01223 727272

Regency Autos, 120 Church End, Cambridge, CB1 3LB

01223 324050

Sawston Motor Co, Unit 8a, Common Lane, Sawston, CB22 3HW

01223 839666

Swavesey Garage, 20 Middle Watch, Swavesey, Cambridge, CB24 4RN

01954 230264

Vindis Service Centre, Building 6100, Cambridge Research Park, Waterbeach, CB25 9PD

01223 495 477

All Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles (with the exception of exempted executive hire) must be fitted with a Council approved CCTV system. 

Any newly licensed vehicle must have CCTV meeting the Council’s specification, installed prior to licensing from 1 April 2023 and existing licences must have CCTV installed on renewal from 1 April 2023. (Information on the approved specification and details of suppliers and installers will be available on our website in the New Year).

Where a fault of the CCTV system is identified, this must be reported to the Licensing Authority within 24-hours. If the fault is not rectified within 5 working days, the vehicle will be suspended until the CCTV equipment is fully operational.

The specification and installers will be provided shortly.

All Vehicles over one year of age from first registration will be required to obtain a Certificate of Compliance and MOT, prior to licensing at the Council Offices in Cambourne. It is the responsibility of the applicant to book their Vehicle in at one of our approved garages for Certificate of Compliance testing.

Both the MOT and Certificate of Compliance test must be done at the same garage.

You must have valid insurance

Applications for a new or renewal of a vehicle licence will require submission of proof of valid insurance which covers the vehicle and driver for hire and reward purposes. The vehicle proprietor and the driver must ensure that valid insurance is maintained at all times.

An original insurance certificate must be proved with an application, or if an electronic version, it must be supplied by the insurance company to taxis@scambs.gov.uk.

While on duty, driving a licensed vehicle in Cambridge, you may access the Bus Lanes and Bus Gates in Cambridge City Centre. However, in order to allow this, you will need to notify Cambridge County Council Parking Services department, we will then add the vehicle to the list of authorised users.

Please call 01223 727900 or email a copy of your valid vehicle licence to parkingservices@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

It is your responsibility to notify the Parking Services department if you change your vehicle, even temporarily, and when you renew your vehicle licence.

Please be advised that you may not access Station Road in Cambridge, this is strictly for buses only.

Why are we asking for your personal information?

We require your personal data to enable us to comply with a legal obligation and review and reconsider your application for a licence by way of an appeal conducted by the Licensing Committee.

There are laws in place, (Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1982), that tell us what information we have to collect and keep. We may automate decisions and will inform you if we have done this as soon as reasonably practicable and provide you with access to our Data Protection Policy.

You hold the following rights with regard to the personal data you provide us:

  • Right to Access: you have the right to access (receive a copy) of your personal data and supplementary information.
  • Right to Rectification: you have the right to have any inaccurate or incomplete personal data rectified.
  • Right to Restriction: you have the right to request a restriction of the processing of your personal data in situations where it is inaccurate, unlawful, and no longer needed for the purposes for which it was originally collected, or if a withdrawal of consent has been made.

Sharing your information

We may share your personal data with Local Partner Authorities, Police, Legal, Courts, Internal/External audit, Disclosure and Barring Service, HM Revenue & Customs, Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, Customs and Border Agency, as required.

We may process the information you provide to prevent and detect fraud in any of our systems and may supply information to government agencies, credit reference agencies, audit or other external bodies for such purposes. We participate in the Government's National Fraud Initiative.

If any of the information we have about you is incorrect, please tell us, we are reliant on you assisting us to keep your information accurate and up to date.

Retention of your personal information

We only keep your information as long as necessary, for some items this will be dictated by law. You can find out more by looking at the Councils Retention Policy on the website. We do not routinely process any information about you outside of the UK. We will not transfer your personal data outside of the EU. We are a registered Data Controller with the Information Commissioners Office.

You can find out more about how we handle your data by visiting our Privacy Notice. If you have a query regarding your rights please contact the Data Protection Officer who can be contacted by emailing infogov@3csharedservices.org or you can write to us and mark your letter for the attention of the Data Protection Officer. Alternatively, you can call 07864 604221 or 01954 713318

You have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) should you believe any part of this statement to be unlawful.