Licensing during COVID-19

Please note that during this time the licensing team will not be carrying out any routine inspections or site visits. Visits will only be conducted in emergencies or to investigate breaches of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020.

Licensing can still be contacted by emailing licensing@stratford-dc.gov.uk

This page is to provide licensing updates to licensing applications and procedures during the coronavirus outbreak. Please keep checking this page as it will be updated regularly.

Taxi and Private Hire Licensing

*All drivers/owners should be receiving updates from licensing via email. If you are not please register an email address with the team using the email address above. Thank you.

New Driver Applications

Unfortunately due to the Council building being closed to the public all future knowledge tests have been cancelled. If you are interested in becoming a driver please email licensing for more information.

Taxi and Private Hire Renewal Applications

Taxi and private hire applications will still be sent via email. Applicants must ensure that all required paperwork together with the fee is received one month prior to renewal to ensure that all relevant checks can be carried out in time. During this period applications made after the 1 April 2020 will be issued with a 16 month licence. Which is an extension of 4 months.

MOT's - Please note MOT's due on or after 30 March 2020 will be extended by 6 months but you must keep your vehicle in a road worthy condition.

6 Monthly inspection test for older vehicles - The condition for older vehicles required to have a vehicle inspection test on or after the 30 March 2020 has been suspended for 6 months. Vehicles must be kept in a road worthy condition as per the licensing conditions.

Applications can still be posted but we would prefer where possible for you to scan all documents and email them to licensing.renewals@stratford-dc.gov.uk. When sending applications via email please call the payments line on 01789 260979 requesting that a copy of the receipt is sent to licensing.

Dual Drivers Renewal Applications

Dual driver renewals will still be sent out via email. Applicants must ensure that all required paperwork together with the fee is received one month prior to renewal to ensure that all relevant checks can be carried out in time.

From the 1st April 2020 applicants renewing their drivers badge can choose if they want to renew for 16 months or 40 months. Either option gives a driver 4 months extension.

For 16 months please make a payment of £80 with your application.

For 40 months please make a payment of £236 with your application.

Drivers applying to renew who are unable to obtain a Group 2 medical assessment carried out by a doctor may submit a medical self declaration

Please note ' Personnel Checks' have made changes to their procedures in respect of checking ID for DBS checks. Please see their website for more information.

Applications can still be posted but we would prefer where possible for you to scan all documents and email them to licensing.renewals@stratford-dc.gov.uk. When sending applications via email please call the payments line on 01789 260979 requesting that a copy of the receipt is sent to licensing. Where possible please scan all documents and email them to licensing.renewals@stratford-dc.gov.uk. To make payment please call the payments line on 01789 260979 requesting that a copy of the receipt is sent to licensing.

Guidance for Protective Screens in Licensed Vehicles

Partitions or safety screens provide a physical barrier between drivers and passengers in the vehicle. There has been an increase of interest in the use of screens as a way of providing physical separation between drivers and passengers in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
The installation of driver safety partition screens in licensed vehicles is supported by the Licensing Manager and Licensing Officers at Stratford on Avon District Council for the purposes of improving the safety of licensed drivers, reducing the risk of spreading Coronavirus and assisting drivers to return to work. Whilst it is possible that partitions may reduce the risk of transmission of infection, the risk would not be eliminated entirely.
However, we recognise that in fitting and using such devices the safety of drivers and passengers is vital and need to ensure that all relevant safety, UK and European Community (EC) legislation is complied with. You may need to do this anyway for insurance purposes.
Therefore please ensure that;
(i) This guidance is complied with;
(ii) The screen is fitted in a safe and secure manner;
(iii) You are responsible for Informing your insurers of the intent to fit such a device;
(iv) The device installed should NOT be significantly changed or modified from the original manufactured design;
(v) The device should remain clear and be free of scratches, clouding or stickers which would impede the driver's or passengers visibility;
(vi) Ensure the device does not impede entry or egress or present a trip hazard to passengers using the vehicle;
(vii) Provide the Licensing Team with an image of the fitted device.

Following on from this, may I remind you of the need to:-
- ensure your vehicle is cleaned and sanitised after each fare;
- ensure no passengers sit in the front of the vehicle as this is against social distancing rules;
- wear masks and gloves, when required;
- take extra care when handling cash;
- ensure handles on the inside and outside of the vehicle are sanitised.

Prime Ministers announcement on 22 September 2020 - the wearing of face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles

Following the Prime Ministers announcement on 22 September 2020, the Department for Transport (DfT) laid a Statutory Instrument in both Houses of Parliament to mandate the wearing of face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) in England under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. This regulation has now come into effect.

In line with public transport and retail settings the Regulations gives new powers to taxi and PHV drivers to deny access to a service, and to direct someone to leave a service, if they are not wearing a face covering without a legitimate reason. If passengers fail to comply, the Police have a power to remove passengers from a service (using reasonable force if necessary), and issue a Fixed Penalty Notice. The requirement only applies when a service is being provided i.e. passengers are not required to wear a face covering when the vehicle is used for personal use.

We always recommended that passengers wear face coverings in PHVs and taxis and moving to mandating this is a reasonable additional step to take to reduce the risk of infection when used alongside other measures. We will also be working with taxi and PHV operators and drivers to ensure that all passengers are aware of the exemptions to this regulation. There are health, age, equalities and other reasons why someone may not be able to wear a face covering. It is crucial that operators and passengers are aware of these exemptions to ensure that everyone can have confidence in using public transport. DfT will publish updated guidance as soon as possible for operators and passengers on travelling safely during the outbreak. The guidance will reflect the latest information about face coverings. I would be grateful if you could share the change and the updated guidance with your licensees.

We would also like to take this opportunity to draw your attention a number of assets which DfT are creating to support our stakeholders to communicate this change. The assets will contain messages around how to ensure both drivers and customers are kept safe, as well as messaging on exemptions. They will be made available here shortly alongside the existing assets we have available. Please do cascade these assets and resources to your members/networks.

The following COVID guidance pages have been updated:
Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators
Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers
Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own

Licensing Act 2003 Applications

Have you applied for a licence?

Please bear with us during these unprecedented times and we will issue your licence as soon as we can. During this period we may only be able to provide an electronic version of your licence.

Licensing Decisions – Temporary Changes to Decision-Making Processes

A number of temporary measures have been put in place until further notice:

  • The Head of Governance and Democracy will continue to determine all non-contentious licensing applications.
  • For contentious applications involving premises licences under the Licensing Act 2003 or matters relating to the Gambling Act 2005 a Licensing Panel hearing will take place remotely, in the absence of members of the public and, if appropriate, the applicant and responsible authorities – with just the panel members, licensing officer and a legal officer present. All written representations from the applicant and any third parties will be taken into account when making a decision, and if possible the meeting will be webcast.
  • For all other contested licensing applications, the Head of Governance and Democracy will determine the matter.
  • As usual, all decisions made under these arrangements will be published on the Council's website.

The Council's Constitution is currently being updated to reflect these temporary changes, which will be subject to on-going review, with the intention of returning back to our usual governance arrangements as soon as it is lawful and feasible to do so.

Last updated on 24/09/2020

Contact the Licensing team