New MOT Number plate law 2021 classic car Morris Traveler

New rules for MOTs relating to NUMBER PLATES

Do you know the latest rules when it comes to what’s legal in terms of the number plates on your car and the recent changes?

There is a new British Standard for Retroreflective Number Plates, known as the BS AU 145e, replacing the old BS AU 145d standard. The plates are made from tougher material so should be more durable.
These changes have also been made to help make plates more readable for Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras therefore making it easier for DVLA, police etc to track offenders.
The new number plates will also have to include the supplier’s business name and postcode, along with the name of the number plate manufacturer, in order to match the new BS AU 145e standard.

I’ve picked out below some additional new rules that may affect you…

1 – Relevant if you have a GB sticker on your vehicle and are planning to travel abroad:

Anyone planning to drive outside the UK now needs to display a UK sticker (not a GB one) clearly on the rear of your vehicle if your number plate has any of the following:
1) a GB identifier with the Union flag
2) a Euro symbol
3) a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales
4) numbers and letters only – no flag or identifier. In addition, remove the old GB sticker if you have one.

However, anyone with a number plate that includes the UK identifier with the Union Jack, does not need a UK sticker.

If you’re in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, you must display a UK sticker no matter what is on your number plate.

You do not need a UK sticker to drive in Ireland.

For details go to and search Driving in the EU.

2 – Relevant if you buy an electric car:

Green number plates, or rather a number plate with a green dash on it indicates the vehicle is ‘zero-emissions’. I believe the reason for the introduction of these plates is to show how the transition to electric is progressing but also it is meant to help Councils introduce new initiatives for Electric Vehicle (EV) owners. Watch the space!

3 – Relevant if you have non-standard number plates that you have fitted in the last few years:

The new number plates can now only display solid black lettering; two-tone number plates are no longer allowed.  The lettering can still be Perspex or acrylic lettering, provided it meets all other requirements.

4 – Relevant if you have an old car and have black and silver number plates:

Any vehicle registered after the 1st Jan 1980 CANNOT display the old style pre-1973 black and silver number plates. Any vehicle made before this date will be able to continue to legally display the black and silver number plates. This rule was introduced in January 2021 and affects vehicles in the historic tax class.

Ultimately if you do not meet the new rules, you risk being stopped by the police and face a fine of up to £1000 etc OR you will fail your next MOT. So be sure to understand the rules that affect you and adhere to them!

Happy Motoring!

MOT rule changes made in 2021 – check DVLA and for details