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Number Plate Law

Law and guidance for the display of UK Number Plates

See also: Rules for the transfer, assignment and retention of UK registration marks

The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 specifies the geometric characteristics of letters and numbers and the associated British Standard that UK number plates must conform to. The general rules and advice notes of this section are summarised just below (please check the detail in each section that then follows):

  • A number plate must be displayed at both the front and rear of motor vehicles. There are some exceptions.
  • Characters must be black on a white plate at the front and a yellow at the rear of the vehicle.
  • The background surface should be reflex reflecting (the characters must not be).
  • Character size and spacing must conform to one of the following groups as appropriate:

    Number plates FITTED AFTER 1st September 2001
    Number Plates FITTED BETWEEN 1st January 1973 and 1st September 2001
    Vehicles constructed before 1st January 1973 (traditional number plates)
    Imported Vehicles
    Motorcycles and Tricycles

  • The voluntary display of the Euro-symbol / national flags with national identity is permitted.
  • Number Plates must be easy to read and meet the British Standard.
  • You must supply proof of entitlement and identification when purchasing number plates.
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