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New UK numberplate laws confirmed ahead of 28 September, 2021

BS AU 145e-standard plates will no longer be offered with 3D-effect lettering; plates will be more durable, too

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Car numberplates in the United Kingdom are set to conform to a new bank of rules from 28 September, following a switch from the BS AU 145d standard that’s been in place since 2001. New BS AU 145e standard plates will be more durable and resist wear, they’ll display the ‘UK’ designation and, perhaps most surprisingly given the design’s longstanding popularity, they’ll no longer be allowed to use 3D-effect lettering.

It’s thanks to the ever-increasing use of automated camera technology – including Automatic Numberplate Recognition, aka ANPR – that the latter change is being implemented, with solid letters being clearer and therefore easier to identify. Plates will continue to be allowed in both perspex and acrylic, and the green badge to identify fully-electric cars – introduced this year – will also remain an option for EV owners.

As previously reported, British drivers taking their cars abroad will also have to display the UK logo, rather than GB as before. But now, thanks to the rollout of GB letters above a Union Flag on the very latest numberplates, some British motorists won’t have to add stick-on or magnetic UK letters to their boots, as the Europe-approved GB plate design can officially be used to signal a car’s residency status. For those running older style plates, though, a UK badge/sticker is required.

Additionally, September’s rule changes clear up a previously slightly hazy rule for older and classic car owners. From September 28, black and white plates – which mimic the design of the UK’s oldest numerplates – will only be eligible for cars that meet two criteria. The first is that they’re registered as classic cars, meaning they’re in the DVLA’s historic tax bracket. The second is that they were first registered before 1 January 1980. If a car doesn’t conform to both, it must run the modern white/yellow on black design.

The changes are to be implemented in the month that brings in the new ’71’ designation for new car numberplates, which will remain in use until March 2022, when ‘22’ will succeed it for six months. Presumably thanks to the excitement of the latest designation’s introduction, car sales typically peak during these plate changeover months. Interestingly, it’s true for manufacturers as well as the home of faff-free car buying online, cinch, meaning the next most helpful thing we can do is provide you with a quick link to our car search page’s latest additions.