Coronavirus - changes to licensing services

In light of recent government advice about the coronavirus (COVID-19) we have had to make changes to the licensing service, including the suspension of some of our services.

These changes have been made to help minimise the risk and spread of the virus, and to keep our staff and our customers safe.

Our priority will be to ensure that existing licence holders and businesses can continue to operate, where possible.

Keep checking this page for the latest updates.

Staffing / telephones

At the moment, most of our officers are working from home as advised by the government and this will unfortunately impact on the services we can offer, in particular telephone calls.

If you have an urgent enquiry please  email the Licensing Team and we will aim to respond to you within 5 working days.

Taxi licensing

Face to face appointments

All face to face appointments for applications in respect of private hire / hackney carriage licences have been suspended until further notice. The appointment system will re-open when normal service resumes.

Knowledge tests

All knowledge tests have been suspended until further notice. We will contact all applicants to re-arrange any booked test when normal service resumes.

6-month vehicle inspections

6-month vehicle inspections will resume from 1st July 2020.

All proprietors due an inspection in July will receive an email to remind them about their inspection. Inspection times are subject to change, and proprietors will be notified of any changes that are relevant to them.

When attending the Council’s Depot for an inspection you must wear a face covering. Failure to do so may result in your inspection not being carried out.

New drivers

We are currently not accepting any applications for new private hire / hackney carriage driver licences. 

Our priority at this time is to ensure that existing licence holders and businesses can continue to operate, where possible.

The following arrangements have been put in place to ensure that existing licence holders can continue to operate at this time.

Renewal Drivers (badge)

Vehicle (plates)

Your vehicle must be disinfected before it's presented for inspection at the council’s Makerfield Way Depot.

Keeping your vehicle clean to prevent the spread of COVID-19

We advise all drivers / vehicle proprietors to follow the NHS guidance (external link) to prevent the spread of the virus.

We are also advising that you follow these simple steps:

  • Think about asking passengers about any symptoms before the ‘pick up’
  • Where possible, ask all passengers to sit in the back of your vehicle
  • Disinfect the vehicle after every hiring (where possible).

Where the above is not possible, you should regularly clean / disinfect surfaces after every journey or at the beginning, middle and end of a shift, as a minimum. This includes:

  • Steering wheel
  • Handbrake
  • Door handles (inside and out)
  • Any card payment devices
  • Any divisions between the front and rear of the vehicle
  • The rear of the front seats
  • Any other surface that yourself or passengers have come into contact with.

No private / public hire insurance cover means no valid MOT

Please be advised that if you remove private / public hire cover from your current insurance policy it will invalidate your vehicle licence. As a result of this, your certificate of compliance will be invalid, and the vehicle will no longer be authorised to be used as a ‘taxi’.

This also means that you cannot legally use your vehicle for personal use unless it has a valid MOT.

The Department of Transport granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing for cars, vans and motorcycles. However, this is only applicable to vehicles that hold an existing valid MOT as of 30th March 2020.

Charitable collections

Applications for street collection permits have been suspended until further notice, and existing permits will be cancelled. There will also be no face to face fundraising permitted at this time.

This is to help minimise the spread of the virus and to ensure residents visiting our town centres are doing so for ‘essential’ reasons only.

Animal Activity Licences

Due to the current circumstances with COVID-19 we are not currently undertaking inspections for animal activity licence applications if the activity includes an indoor element.  This is to help minimise the risk and spread of the virus, and to keep our staff and customers safe.  Applications will be acknowledged, and an Officer will contact you at a later date to arrange an inspection.

Enquiries

We would ask that you keep referring to this page for updates.

If you have any questions that are not covered on this page please contact us and we will aim to respond to you within 5 working days.

Please be aware that we are not in a position at this time to confirm when our face to face service will resume.

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