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Number plate changes

Mann Island

16 Aug 2021 3 minute read

Flags on number plates

Leaving the European Union has had implications for all number plates produced after 31st December 2020 when the option to include an EU flag ended. Since the start of 2021, people have been able to choose to include the Union Flag, the Cross of St George, the Cross of St Andrew or Saltire, or the Red Dragon. Each will be accompanied by letters or national identifiers, including GREAT BRITAIN, Great Britain or GB, UNITED KINGDOM, United Kingdom or UK, CYMRU, Cymru, CYM or Cym, ENGLAND, England, ENG, Eng, SCOTLAND, Scotland, SCO or Sco, WALES or Wales.

Please be aware that the flag must be above the identifier. The flag or letters cannot appear on the number plate margin, and neither can be more than 50 millimetres wide.

If a vehicle has an EU flag already – there’s no need to change it.

While the choice of flag and identifier is up to each individual, there are implications for driving abroad.

If the number plate includes the letters GB and the Union Flag, vehicles don’t need to display a separate GB badge. However, they must include one if the number plate displays: a Euro symbol; an English, Scottish or Welsh flag; or numbers and letters only with no flag or letters.

New number plate standards

As of September 2021, a new standard of number plates will be introduced. It will be sturdier, more resilient material able to handle more damage, more bending, abrasion, impact, and thermal change, and will also show up clearer on Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras on UK roads.

It also means that the digits will change, and as a result, two-tone number plates will not be allowed when the new standard is introduced. Instead, solid black digits will be the only acceptable digits on physical number plates, again, to make it easier for ANPR cameras to pick them up and identify vehicles. 4D is fine, but again, they need to consist of solid black digits.

All number plates will also have to show the supplier’s business name and postcode in the bottom centre of the car registration plate and the number plate manufacturer with BS145e in the bottom right corner.

Borders will remain unaffected.

Vintage number plates

From the start of 2021, the DVLA withdrew the linking of the vintage number plate definition to the rolling 40-year tax exemption. It meant that ‘vintage’ style black and silver number plate are only allowed on pre-1980 vehicles.

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