You can't apply for this licence online. Contact your local council.


Contact your council if you want to use a horse and carriage for paying customers. You’ll need to have it inspected and licensed.

Councils have different rules on horse-drawn carriages, which are licensed as hackney carriages (taxis). Some will license them, others won’t license them or don’t have a scheme.


Before your council can issue your licence:

  • you’ll have to pass a road driving assessment
  • the carriage will have to pass a safety inspection
  • each horse or pony you intend to use will have to be checked for fitness and suitability by a vet approved by the council

You’ll have to pay for the tests and inspections and for a hackney carriage plate to be fitted.

Depending on your council’s rules, you may also need:

  • a driving licence
  • a health and safety risk assessment
  • a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check
  • public liability insurance
  • to meet certain conditions, eg work only certain hours

Some councils use the ‘Code of practice for horse-drawn vehicles’ but they don’t have to.

Annual fees

You’ll have to pay a licensing fee and a badge fee every year. You may also need to have your horses checked by a vet each year, as one of the licensing conditions.

How to apply

Contact your council.

Displaying your badge

You must wear your badge at all times when you’re working.

Fines and penalties

You can be prosecuted or have your licence taken away if you break the conditions of your licence, eg by using a horse that hadn’t been inspected by a vet.