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  • David Edwards

Navigating the Landscape of Number Plate Compliance: An In-Depth Guide

Updated: Nov 7, 2023


In recent years, the UK has seen a slew of changes in the regulations governing number plates. These changes have far-reaching implications for number plate suppliers, vehicle owners, and the motor trade industry at large. This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on these changes, helping you stay compliant and avoid the pitfalls of non-compliance.

Why Compliance Matters: More Than Just Following the Law

Compliance with number plate regulations is not merely a legal obligation; it's a cornerstone of business integrity. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines and even suspension from the Register of Number Plate Suppliers, which can be a significant blow to your business reputation.

Tips for Ensuring Compliance

  • Regular Updates: Keep an eye on announcements and updates from regulatory bodies like the British Number Plate Manufacturers Association (BNMA).

  • Quality Control: Ensure that your products meet or exceed the latest British Standards, such as BS AU 145e.

  • Record-Keeping: Maintain meticulous records of your products and sales to demonstrate compliance during audits.


Introduction of BS AU 145e

The new British Standard, BS AU 145e, became mandatory on 1st September 2021. This standard introduces several new requirements aimed at improving the quality and durability of number plates.

Key Features of BS AU 145e

  • Enhanced reflective properties

  • Improved resistance to weathering and corrosion

  • Stricter dimensions and spacing rules

Transition Period: BS AU 145d to BS AU 145e

A transition period was in place from 1st January 2021 to 31st August 2021, allowing plates meeting either the old (BS AU 145d) or new (BS AU 145e) standards to be fitted. This period was designed to help motor traders and suppliers transition smoothly.

Tips for a Smooth Transition

  • Gradually phase out old stock that meets the BS AU 145d standard.

  • Update your manufacturing processes to meet the new BS AU 145e requirements.


Restrictions on Black & Silver Plates

Classic and vintage black and silver number plates are now restricted to vehicles registered on or before 1st January 1980. This change aims to preserve the authenticity of historic vehicles.

Advice for Vintage Vehicle Owners

  • Ensure your vehicle's registration date aligns with the new rules before fitting black and silver plates.


Detailed Changes in Dimensions and Spacing

The new standard has brought about specific changes in the dimensions, spacing, and borders of number plates. For instance, the space between the bottom of the registration mark and any other mark must not be less than 7 millimeters.

Key Points to Remember

  • Adhere to the new spacing requirements.

  • Optional borders must be 5mm or thinner in width and should not infringe closer than 10mm from the edge of any registration digit.

For more information, visit our Legal Plates example by following the link below:


From GB to UK: Plates for Overseas Travel

In line with the UK's updated international status, vehicle registration plates have transitioned from the GB identifier to a new UK marker.

This change reflects not just a simple switch in letters but a significant update in compliance for vehicles crossing borders. Whether you're a frequent traveller or planning your next overseas trip, understanding this shift is crucial. Our blog provides an in-depth look at what this change entails, ensuring you're fully informed and your vehicle is correctly outfitted for international travel.

  • If you're a vehicle owner and plan to travel abroad, make sure to replace your GB EU plates with compliant UK alternatives.

  • As a supplier, ensure you no longer stock or sell GB EU plates.



Compliance in the number plate industry is a dynamic, ongoing process. By staying informed and proactive, you can navigate these changes effectively, ensuring that you remain compliant while also upholding the highest standards of business integrity.

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