Driving abroad? You’ll need a UK sticker to be legal
Motorists driving abroad will be legally required to display a UK sticker or badge on their car from 28 September, pulling the existing GB sign out of use after – doffed hats at the ready – 111 years of service. The legal change, which was spotted as a footnote in UN regulations by the AA, means motorists running with GB-badged plates won’t be able to drive abroad without UK signage. Even classic cars with metal GB badges will need to add a UK badge, which might ruin the traditional look somewhat.
If the rule change has you scratching your head, firstly, you’re not alone, and secondly, wait until you hear this. Even cars with the recently introduced Union Jack plates will need an additional UK sign, because the new-for-2021 design displays the GB letters. The UK Government is yet to publicly announce the change, so its reasoning is not clear, but most think the switch to ‘UK’ is a move designed to highlight that Britain is unified with Northern Ireland. Hashtag politics.
Whatever the reason, for most motorists looking to take their cars abroad later this year and beyond, the switch is only likely to be a minor annoyance, requiring the purchasing of a sticker or magnetic badge to display ‘UK’ on boots. So long as you have either of those on the back of your car, you won’t need to bin the old-style numberplates with the GB or EU designs, although we can expect new cars to receive a different designed plate to conform with the change in due time. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, though, make sure you don’t forget that date if you want to avoid attention from the plod on the continent.