RNPS Newsletter: For makers and suppliers of number plates

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To registered number plate suppliers

This newsletter (straight from DVLA) contains important information and details of changes to legislation directly related to the supply of number plates.

In this newsletter you will find:

Some of the RNPS Enforcement Team at DVLA

Some of the RNPS Enforcement Team in 2019 (photo taken before the current restrictions)

Upcoming changes to legislation

Introduction of the new standard for number plates: BS AU 145e

The British Standards Institute publishes the technical standards that all number plates are required to satisfy and this requirement is mandated in law.

In March 2018, the BSI published an updated standard for number plates, BS AU 145e. This new standard will improve the durability of new number plates and enhance compatibility with on-road enforcement cameras.

The new standard also requires that plates only display single shade black lettering, removing the ability to use different shades to produce 3D effects or highlighting.

The agency has not seen any evidence to show that number plates displaying raised plastic, acrylic or Perspex lettering (3D/4D plates) are able to meet the requirements of either the current or new the British Standard.

To take effect this new British Standard needs to be incorporated into the regulations and will become mandatory from 1 September 2021 but can be used from 1 January 2021.

This means that as a supplier you:

  • must ensure that the number plates you supply can meet all the requirements of the standard and the legislative requirements
  • should contact your component supplier or manufacturer if you're unsure whether the components they supply for you can meet the standard - it's an offence to supply number plates that cannot meet the standard

Copies of the new British Standard can be purchased from BSI.

Number plate

Changes to the eligibility for black and silver number plates

It will be specified in law from 1 January 2021 that only vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1980 are eligible to display “black and silver” plates.

This means that as a supplier you:

  • can only produce black and silver plates for those vehicles registered prior to 1 January 1980 that have also been licensed in the historic tax class

Removal of the ‘EU’ symbol

As part of the UK’s exit from the EU, government will remove the ability to fix a new number plate displaying the Euro symbol after the end of the EU exit transition period. Those registration plates fixed to a vehicle before 1 January 2021 will be unaffected.

This means that as a supplier you:

  • cannot produce a number plate with an EU symbol from 1 January 2021.

Green Number Plates

Green number plates (GNP) will signify that the vehicle emits zero emissions and will consist of a green flash on the left hand side of a registration plate. They will be non-mandatory and available to new and existing qualifying vehicles.

Regional emblems and identifiers that are currently permitted can still be displayed on the green flash.

Green number plate


Only vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions (e.g. fully battery electric, or hydrogen fuel cell) can display a green number plate. Hybrids and plug-in hybrids (including range extenders) are not eligible.

This applies to all vehicle types – cars, vans, taxis, motorbikes; and buses, coaches and HGVs.


The regulations state that:

  • the green flash must be no less than 40mm in width, and no more than 50mm in width
  • it must be retro-reflective and be matching or of an equivalent green to the Pantone 7481c colour reference


An example of a Green Number Plate

A rear green number plate

A different green number plate

Help and support for number plate suppliers

If you have any questions please contact: RNPS@dvla.gov.uk

DVLA's Enforcement Team are still available to support number plate suppliers during this unprecedented time. If you have any questions in relation to the upcoming changes, or legal requirements and standards in relation to number plates, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

DVLA reception


You must see original documents – not copies or photographs – to prove a customer's identity and entitlement before supplying a number plate.

If there are any changes to your business you must advise DVLA. You can do this using the contact information above.

You can find more information in our 'Vehicle registration numbers and number plates' leaflet.

Find out more