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Number plates regulations

Article Posted 24/08/2009

There are many regulations when it comes to car/vehicle number plates.

Each character (letters or numbers) must be 79mm high and 50mm wide (except for the letter I or the number 1). The width of each character must be 14mm. There must be a space of 11mm between characters within the same group, and character groups must be 33mm apart from each other.

All number plates must now use one specific, mandatory typeface, which is a simple typeface intended to make the numbers and letters easy to read by both humans and automatic recognition systems, which are becoming increasingly popular by the police in recent years. All other styles, such as italic fonts and many others, are now prohibited.

The colours and reflectivity of number plates are also specified in the government regulations. Front plates must have black characters on a white background, whereas the rear plates must have black characters on a yellow background.

The British Standard also requires that a number plate must be marked with the following information: the British Standard Number, the name, trade mark (or other means of identification of the manufacturer or component supplier) the name and postcode of the supplying outlet. Therefore there are to be no other markings or material contained on the number plates.

A few things that are permitted but not essential are:

A non reflective border is optional.

National emblems such as: English St George Cross with “ENG” legend, Scottish St Andrew Cross with “SCO” legend, Welsh Dragon with “WALES” and “CYMRU” legend, British Union Flag with “GB” legend or Euro Stars symbol with “GB” legend.

There are a few exceptions for those older and vintage cars. Vehicle's built prior to 1973, are permitted to bear the old style black plates of either plastic or traditional metal construction.

DVLA suggests: Vehicles constructed before 01/01/1973 may continue to display the traditional style number plates ‘black and white’, for example:  white, silver or grey characters on a black plate.

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