Number Plates Law

U.K. Number Plates Laws

The number of laws governing Number Plates has increased of the last few years. Here are some of the main rules which apply .

Pre-January 1973

Vehicles first registered before January the first 1973 have the option of using the white on black or silver on black number plates. These are made either from pressed metal or plastic digits riveted on metal number plates. Occasionally an adhesive black vinyl background with white letters is more suitable.

Post- January 1973

Number Plate characters can be either 89mm by 64mm or 79mm by 57mm gaps between characters must be 13mm for the taller characters and 11mm for the shorter. The gap between the two "parts" of the number plate must be 38mm ( 89mm tall characters) and 33mm for the shorter ones. No definitive font is given but styled characters ( for example italics) are forbidden. Note these regulations govern number plates FITTED after Jan 1973 but before September 2001, they do not relate to the year of the car.

Post September 2001

Characters must be 79mm high and 50mm wide with a stroke of 14mm.Inter-character gap is 11mm and the space between the two parts of the registration number is 33mm.The only font allowed is based on the "Charles Wright" font.


Once again these regulations apply to number plates FITTED after September 2001 .So your car could be 1974 but it would still need to comply IF THE NUMBER PLATES ARE CHANGED.

It has never been legal to use screws etc to alter the appearance of the characters on the plate and the only other option when buying them is the EU emblem with a national flag e.g. Saltire.

To make all this enforceable every number plate suppliers must be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and must show his name and post code on each number plate he supplies.

In addition you must supply proof of I.D.when buying plates ( preferrably a photocard driving licence ) and also proof that the number is yours( V5 registration document ( log book) , V750 (pink) or V778 (green) certificate for the registration number, V11 vehicle licence renewal, or V948).

The supplier must keep records of all the above and make them available to the police if requested.

The transfer of TSU 742 onto my new car was completed on Friday. Thanks for your help with transfer. Regards

Robert McShane


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