NUMBER PLATES and REGISTRATION MARKS

This page provides links to the requirements that apply to vehicle number plates and information about the current registration mark format.

 

 

new regmark format image

Current Requirements on the Display of Number Plates

In Brief
Number plates fitted after September 2001
NUMBER PLATES FITTED BEFORE 1 SEPTEMBER 2001
TRADITIONAL NUMBER PLATES (for vehicles constructed before 1.1.1973)
Display of Vehicle Registration Marks on Imported Vehicles
(which have a restricted space for a standard sized number plate)

MOTORCYCLES AND TRICYCLES
MANDATORY CHARACTER FONT
THE EURO PLATE / Display of National flags
THE LAW
THE BRITISH STANDARD
Frequently Asked Questions - Number Plates


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In Brief
All registration marks including marks purchased through DVLA *'s sales scheme must be displayed in accordance with The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 (obtainable from Her Majesty's Stationery Office).

Rules for the display of number plates are set out in law, briefly these are: -

A number plate must be displayed at the front and rear of motor vehicles (with some exceptions).
Number Plates must be easy to read and meet the British Standard.
Lettering should be black on a white plate at the front and a yellow at the rear.
The background surface should be reflex-reflecting but the characters must not.
There are separate requirements for traditional number plates displayed on vehicles constructed before 1 January 1973.
Lettering and spacing must be of a set size. They must conform to one of the groups shown at:- Number plates fitted after 1 September 2001 or Number plates fitted before 1 September 2001.
Frequently Asked Questions - Number Plates


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NUMBER PLATES FITTED AFTER 1 SEPTEMBER 2001
Number plates fitted after 1 September 2001 must display characters that meet the dimensions shown below.

Characters
Height 79mm
Width (except the figure 1 or letter l) 50mm
Stroke 14mm
Space between characters 11mm
Space between groups 33mm
Top, bottom and side margins (minimum) 11mm
Space between vertical lines 19mm

The character width has been slightly reduced from 57mm to 50mm to accommodate the Euro-symbol on the number plate.


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NUMBER PLATES FITTED BEFORE 1 SEPTEMBER 2001
Number plates fitted before 1 September 2001 must display characters that meet the dimensions shown in one of the two groups below

Characters Group 1 Group 2
Height 89mm 79mm
Width (except the figure 1or letter l) 64mm 57mm
Stroke 16mm 14mm
Space between characters 13mm 11mm
Space between groups 38mm 33mm
Side margins (minimum) 13mm 11mm
Space between vertical lines 19mm 19mm

Frequently Asked Questions - Number Plates


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TRADITIONAL NUMBER PLATES
Vehicles constructed before 1.1.73 may display traditional style "black and white" plates i.e. white, silver or grey characters on a black plate.
Lettering must be of a set size. It must conform to one of the two groups below.

Characters Group 1 Group 2
Height 89mm 79mm
Width (except the number 1) 64mm 57mm
Stroke 16mm 14mm
Side margin 25mm 11mm
Top & bottom margin 13mm 11mm
Space between characters 13mm 11mm
Space between groups 38mm 33mm

There are additional arrangements if the vehicle is a motorcycle or tricycle

Traditional number plates fitted to vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1973 are not required to display the mandatory character font, but the characters must be easy to read.
Frequently Asked Questions - Number Plates


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Display of Vehicle Registration Marks on Imported Vehicles
(which have a restricted space for a standard sized number plate)
Certain imported vehicles may be permitted to display number plates with smaller characters if:

The vehicle does not have European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval

AND


The vehicle's construction/design cannot accomodate standard size number plates
Specifications for smaller sized plates (for certain imported vehicles)


Character Height

64mm

Character Width

44mm

Character Stroke

10mm

Space between characters

10mm


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MOTORCYCLES AND TRICYCLES
Motorcycles and tricycles registered after 1.9.2001 must only display a number plate at the rear of the vehicle.
Motorcycles and tricycles registered before 1.9.2001 can display a number plate at the front but are not required to.
The characters may be smaller e.g.

Character Height

64mm

Character Width

44mm

Character Stroke

10mm

Space between characters

10mm

Space between groups

30mm

Top, side & bottom margin

11mm

Space between vertical lines 13mm

Motorcycles registered on or after 1 September 2001 must display a two-line number plate number plate. Motorcycles registered prior to the 1 September 2001 may display a three-line plate, but one-line plates are illegal, irrespective of the date of registration of the motorcycle.
Frequently Asked Questions - Number Plates


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MANDATORY CHARACTER FONT
From 1 September 2001 all new number plates must display the new mandatory font. Combined with the new format registration mark, number plates will become clearer and easier to remember.

Number plates fitted before 1 September 2001 need not be changed provided the character font used is substantially the same as the one shown above.

Number plates must be replaced if they have been customised with:

Stylised letters and/or figures such as italics
Number plate fixing bolts that alter the appearance of the letters and/or numbers
Frequently Asked Questions - Number Plates

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THE EURO PLATE
Since 1st September 2001 there has been an optional provision for the display of a Euro-plate for vehicles registered in the UK. The Euro-plate is a number plate that incorporates the symbol of the European Union (a circle of 12 stars on a blue background) with the national identification letters of the member states below. This symbol is located on the far left-hand side of the number plate.

Vehicles displaying this symbol no longer have to use the traditional oval shaped national identifier (GB) sticker when travelling within the European Union. All vehicles registered in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have, by international convention, the distinguishing sign GB.

The Government announced on 28 December 2001 the intention to permit the display of national flags and national identifiers on vehicle number plates. The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 are in the process of being amended. They will provide for the voluntary display of the Union flag, Scottish Saltire, Cross of St George and Red Dragon. Football team crests etc are not allowed.


Frequently Asked Questions - Number Plates


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THE LAW
The law states that,

You must not alter, rearrange or misrepresent the letters or numbers
Characters must not be moved from one group to the other (e.g. A242 ABC must not be displayed as A242A BC).
Offences may result in any or all of the following:

A fine of up to £1,000
The registration mark may be WITHDRAWN
The vehicle may FAIL the MOT test
Full details of the requirements are included in The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001

Frequently Asked Questions - Number Plates


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THE BRITISH STANDARD
The British Standard sets out the physical characteristics on the number plate. This includes:

Visibility
Strength
Reflectivity
The British Standard also requires that a number plate must be marked with the following information: -

The British Standard Number (currently BS AU 145d)
The name, trade mark, or other means of identification of the manufacturer or component supplier. (The company who actually make the number plate.)
The name and postcode of the supplying outlet. (The 'supplying outlet' is taken to mean a company whose business consists wholly or partly of selling number plates.)
A non-reflective border and the Euro-symbol with the national identification letters are optional additions.
There shall be no other markings or material contained on the number plate.

Frequently Asked Questions - Number Plates

Why do we need number plates and registration marks?
What is a 'Q' registration number?
How do I buy a registration number?
How do I transfer my registration number?
How do I retain my registration number as I have not got another vehicle to transfer the number to?


New Number Plate and Registration Mark Format
How was this new format chosen?
Why did my region get the letter that has been assigned to it?
Why have you started the numbers from 51?
Will I be able to transfer a new style mark onto my old vehicle?
I live in the Isle of Wight, will there still be a distinct mark for the Isle?
I live in the Scilly Isles, will there still be a distinct mark for the Islands?
Is the system going to change in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man as well?

Why is it necessary to have a common font for all number plates?

Why did the rule on fonts change?

Will motorists have to change their existing number plates to the new font?

Will motorists with "cherished" registration marks be affected by the new mandatory font?

My vehicle was manufactured before 1 January 1973 but not registered until later. What type of number plate should I display?

Is it legal to display the Euro-symbol?

Are there plans to make the Euro-plate compulsory?

What is the effect of the Euro-plate on UK registered vehicles?

Can other symbols (e.g. national flag, football team crest) be used on number plates?

Do I have to change my number plate if it is cracked or broken?
If I need to replace one of my number plates, do I need to change both?
Are 3D characters allowed?
Is a honeycombed or other background pattern permitted?
Are stick-on number plates allowed?

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Number Plates

Why do we need number plates and registration marks?
Registration marks are needed so that a vehicle can be easily identified. Number plates must be easy to read for many reasons but it is most important for the police. The police often rely on witnesses to remember the number plate if they are to solve a crime. This ranges from motoring offences to some very serious crimes where a vehicle has been involved. Solving these crimes can depend on someone remembering a registering mark or even part of it.

What is a 'Q' registration number?
These are a very useful consumer protection aid.

A 'Q' number is a clear indicator to a prospective purchaser that the age or identity of a vehicle is unknown. The vehicle may be rebuilt from parts, some or all of which may not be new. This also applies to vehicles imported without supporting evidence to identify the vehicles age.


How do I buy a registration number?
We offer prefix and new style personalised registrations for sale through our online ordering and telesales facility, which gives a huge choice from just £199 . Just telephone us on 08745 055 0545 between 8.30am and 6.00 pm Monday to Sunday.

Click here for details

How do I transfer my registration number?
To transfer a registration number from one vehicle to another you will need to complete form V317 that is available from a DVLA * Local Office. This form will explain what you need to do before the number can be transferred. If you require further information, please contact your nearest DVLA * Local Office

How do I retain my registration number as I have not got another vehicle to transfer the number to?
To place a vehicle registration number on hold you will need to complete form V778/1 that is available from a DVLA Local Office. The form will explain what you need to do before the number can be retained. If you require further information please contact your nearest DVLA * Local Office

 


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New Number Plate and Registration Mark Format

How was this new format chosen?

A consultation exercise in 1997 invited the public and interested organisations to give their views. The system that has been developed meets the needs of the vast majority of respondents in providing local memory tags and age identifiers. These will be easy to remember and require no significant changes in materials or overall number plate size.

Why did my region get the letter that has been assigned to it?

An extensive public consultation exercise took place in 1999 before the allocation of the local memory tags. They have been allocated so that, where possible, there is some regional significance. Where this is not possible a neutral letter has been allocated.

Why have the numbers started from 51?

The age identifier changes twice a year, in March and September. To distinguish between these two six monthly changes they have been allocated different number sequences. The following table shows how this will be achieved:

Year March September
2001 - 51
2002 02 /52
2003 03/ 53
2004 04/54
2005 05/55 etc

The use of the figure 5 to precede the year, for September registrations, will maximise the registration mark combinations and offer a long-lasting system. The 5 will change to 6 in 2010 and to 7 in 2020 and so on until 2050 when the format may be reversed to extend the format another 50 years.

Will I be able to transfer a new style mark onto my old vehicle?
No, registration marks cannot be transferred onto any vehicle if it may appear to make the vehicle look younger. No vehicle first registered before 1 September 2001 will be able to have a new style mark.

I live in the Isle of Wight, will there still be a distinct mark for the Isle?

Yes. The letters 'HW' will be used for vehicles registered by Isle or Wight residents

I live in the Scilly Isles, will there still be a distinct mark for the Islands?

No, there is no longer a unique mark for the Scilly Isles.

Is the system going to change in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man as well?

No, the systems will continue as at present in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man may choose to adopt the system later and a series of marks has been reserved.

Why is it necessary to have a common font for all number plates?

Number plates must be easy to read - by people who may witness accidents or serious crime involving motor vehicles and by roadside cameras. The police rely on clear recall of registration numbers in order to trace vehicle keepers.

Why did the rule on fonts change?

An increasing number of motorists use number plates that are difficult to read. The introduction of cameras for enforcement purposes means that it is more important than ever for number plates to be legible. The new regulations will ensure that there is clarity of numbers and letters through the use of a standardised mandatory font.

Will motorists have to change their existing number plates to the new font?

The vast majority of motorists will not be directly affected by the regulations. However those motorists who have number plates that are not substantially the same as the new mandatory font should change them for plates that comply with new regulations. Once the new font becomes compulsory existing number plates using any typeface that is not substantially the same as that specified in the regulations will be illegal.

Are motorists with “cherished” registration marks be affected by the new mandatory font?

Providing their number plates currently meet the legal requirements the mandatory font will not affect them.

My vehicle was manufactured before 1 January 1973 but not registered until later. What type of number plate should I display?

You now have the option of either displaying the standard plates or an old style number plate explained under the heading vehicles registered before 1 January 1973.

Is it legal to display the Euro-symbol?

Yes - Regulations permit the optional display of the European Symbol of Stars with GB on the extreme left of the number plate.

Are there plans to make the Euro-plate compulsory?

No, it is optional. The provision has been introduced because the European Council issued a regulation in November 1998 requiring Member States to recognise the Euro-symbol on number plates in place of the traditional oval shaped national identifier sticker for travel within the European Union. It is for individual motorists to decide if they wish to use the new Euro-plate.

What is the effect of the Euro-plate on UK registered vehicles?

UK vehicles travelling in the European Union may still display the traditional oval “GB” sticker. Alternatively number plates incorporating the Euro-symbol may be used instead of the oval sticker. The oval national identifier sticker would still be required for vehicles on journeys outside the European Union.

Can other symbols (e.g. national flag, football team crest) be used on number plates?

The Government announced on 28 December 2001 the intention to permit the display of national flags and symbols on vehicle number plates.When the regulations are amended they will provide for the voluntary display of the Union flag, Scottish Saltire, Cross of St George and Red Dragon. Football team crests etc are not allowed.

Do I have to change my number plate if it is cracked or broken?

If the number plate is damaged in such a way that it makes the registration mark difficult to read it does need to be replaced.


If I need to replace one of my plates, do I need to change both?

No, you only need to replace the damaged number plate.


Are 3D characters allowed?

3D characters are not allowed to be displayed on number plates if the number plate is fitted to a vehicle on or after 1 September 2001. If the number plate was fitted to a vehicle before the 1 September 2001, 3D characters may be permitted, providing the number plates meet all other requirements


Is a honeycombed or other background pattern permitted?

No, overprinting including honeycomb or other background designs are not allowed.


Are stick-on number plates legal?

No, number plates must meet the British Standard requirements and we are not aware of any self-adhesive number plates that are able to meet these requirements.






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VRM Swansea Number Plates


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*Personal and personalised registrations shown within are subject to transfer fees,vat. & availability                       

    

VRM Swansea coordinates the entire transfer of your personalised registration with DVLA * Swansea and local DVLA * Local Offices in the United Kingdom & Northern Ireland when you opt for our Full Transfer or Sale Service. Our expert team will provide you with instruction and telephone support if you choose our less expensive DIY Transfer Service. An online 'Purchase Offer' supported by suitable payment card takes priority over any other enquiry. VRM Swansea sell number plates owned by clients, government stock and our own stock on a 'first come, first served basis'. All registrations offered for sale are subject to availability and payment is taken only once availability and price are confirmed**. Our systems record telephone conversations and the date and time of all communication. We shall debit your payment card if your offer is accepted and provide confirmation either way**. Under the distance selling regulations we must inform you that our service begins immediately upon payment being taken, that no cooling off period or refunds are given and you will not be able to change your mind. Your instructions will be acted upon immediately and the assignment /transfer process started to ensure your choice is not sold by us to anyone else. This is a Government process which the Government will not cancel or change once they receive our instructions. Please be absolutely sure about your selected number plate before placing your order.

**In the case of pre-release new-issue offers we will take payment prior to the registration mark series release date in order to confirm your desire to proceed and ensure we do not offer the registration mark you have chosen to anyone else.If for any reason your offer is not accepted by the Secretary of State for Transport on the release date, then you will receive a full refund by the payment method you have used to make your offer. The Secretary of State's decision to accept or reject your offer is final and we cannot be held responsible for it, in any way. If your offer is rejected then you may choose another registration subject to sufficient funds being pre-lodged with us.

Personal and personalised registrations shown within are subject to transfer fees,vat. & availability                       

    

Copyright VRM Group 2001-2004  E&OE

 



 


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NEWS

DVLA * Register Of Number Plate Suppliers

From 1 January 2003 all number plate suppliers in England and Wales will be required by law to register their details with DVLA *. From that date a business will be unable to trade as a supplier unless it is registered.
A Number Plate Supplier is someone whose business consists wholly or partly of supplying number plates i.e. finished plates that incorporate the registration mark of a vehicle registered with DVLA *. Manufacturers, distributors, assemblers, motor factors, motor dealers and retail outlets including on-line retailers could fall within the scope of the scheme provided that they supply the finished product. Motor dealers who refit their used vehicles for sale with replacement number plates would be classed as number plate suppliers.
If a business supplies only blank plates or other components or materials it will not be required to register. People who manufacture plates solely for their own use, rather than supply to third parties, are not within the scope of the legislation e.g. a fleet operator who assembles plates and fits them only to vehicles in his fleet. As he does not supply the plates, he is not a supplier for the purposes of the legislation. However, if the business supplies plates for any other purpose eg for an employee's private use, it is regarded as a Number Plate Supplier.

Those exempt include :


Number Plate Suppliers who only supply plates for newly registered vehicles.
Number plate suppliers who do not sell plates in England and Wales.
Manufacturers of number plate components who do not sell complete plates.
Businesses that assemble plates for their own use or fit them to their own vehicles but do not supply them to anyone else. (A motor trader who fits new plates to used vehicles to sell on is not exempt because the plates are supplied along with the vehicle).

MORE NEWS

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA *), the government body responsible for administering and issuing driving licences in the UK, has been heavily censured in a rejection of its bid to acquire the domain DVLA.com.
The DVLA went to domain arbitrator WIPO in an attempt to obtain control of the disputed domain from DVL Automation Inc, a Pennsylvania-based firm which specialises in automation control and logic systems for power plants. It lost its case, and earned itself a sharp rebuke from Dan Hunter, sitting alone on WIPO's arbitration panel.
Hunter ruled that the DVLA acted in bad faith and its complaint constituted an abuse of WIPO's oft-criticised Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.
Although the UK government body established that it has registered the trademark for the term "DVLA *", this right doesn't extend to taking over the running of DVLA.com, he ruled.
DVL Automation has used DVLA.com for six years in its business, which can hardly be confused with driving license administration. Hunter questioned the DVLA *'s assertion that the US firm should be using DVL.com and that by not doing so it was acting in bad faith.
On the contrary it was the DVLA that was acting in bad faith and its claim amounted to an attempt at reverse domain name hijacking.
Strong stuff, and sure to cause a certain amount of discomfort in the Swansea HQ of the DVLA *. You can read WIPO's full judgement here

 

Liasing with the DVLA *,DVLC on behalf of our clients we are registered to supply license plates, transfer personalised number plates, personal registration marks, cherished number plates, custom number plates, private number plates nationwide

We can be found on the DVLA * register of number plate suppliers