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DVLA Advice: Flags on Number Plates

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Book Reviewer
DVLA advice on the regulations regarding flags on numberplates. I hope the following is useful.

The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 came into force in England, Scotland and Wales on 27 April 2009.

However, as there does not appear to be agreement on a national symbol the Regulations will not be extended to Northern Ireland at the present time.

The amended regulations allow for the optional display of either the Union Flag, Cross of St. George, Scottish Saltire or the Red Dragon of Wales with accompanying identifiers (United Kingdom = UK; Great Britain = GB; England = Eng; Scotland = Sco; Wales = Cymru/Cym).

The display of any other flag or symbol is not permitted.

Q&A for National Flags on Number Plates

1. What can currently be displayed on the number plate?
A number plate must incorporate the:
i. registration mark
ii. the supplying outlets name and postcode
iii. the manufacturers identifier
In addition a number plate may incorporate:
i. the Euro symbol with the international identifier of GB underneath
ii. a border

2. Why introduce these new regulations?
The registration mark is a unique means of identifying a vehicle primarily for taxation and law enforcement purposes. It is important that the Police are able to quickly identify a vehicle and witnesses are able to recall registration marks. To this end the law requires that number plates are clearly readable and lays out what can be displayed on them. Any additions to what can be displayed on number plates needs to be incorporated into the Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001.

3. What is the effect of the amending regulations on UK registered vehicles?
In addition to the answer to question number 1 the prescribed national flags and identifiers may be displayed on a vehicle’s number plates.

4. Which national flags and identifiers can be displayed on number plates?
Flags
The Union Flag
The Cross of St George
The Cross of St Andrew (also know as the Saltire)
The Red Dragon of Wales
Identifiers
England or ENG
Scotland or SCO
Wales
Cymru or CYM
United Kingdom or UK
Great Britain or GB

5. If a national flag is displayed on a number plate is this acceptable for European or International travel?
No, displaying a national flag is not sufficient for travelling outside the UK. Vehicles registered in the UK and travelling outside the EU are required to display the traditional oval ‘GB’ sticker. UK vehicles travelling within the EU have the option of displaying the traditional oval GB sticker or the ‘Euro-plate’. Euro-plates are number plates incorporating the Euro symbol with the inter-national identifier (GB) underneath.

6. Why continue to use ‘GB’ on oval stickers and Euro-plates for UK registered vehicles?
Use of the letters ‘GB’ for the purposes of identifying vehicles used abroad dates back to 1909. We have consulted on changing to ‘UK’, the last time in 1999 but there was limited support for the proposal. As ‘GB’ is so well known for this purpose, it was decided not to change.

7. Is the traditional oval ‘GB’ sticker still legal/required?
Yes the traditional oval GB sticker is still legal. It must be displayed if travelling outside the EU. When travelling within the EU motorists have the option of using the traditional oval ‘GB’ sticker or the ‘Euro-plate’.

8. What is the Euro-plate?
The Euro-plate is a number plate incorporating the Euro-symbol – a circle of yellow or white stars on a blue background, with the Member State’s national identification letters below, on the left hand side of the plate. For UK registered vehicles the national identification letters are GB.

9. Are there any plans to make the Euro-plate or National flags plates mandatory?
No. There are no plans to make these number plates compulsory. The legislation allows for the voluntary use of national flags. It is for the individual motorist to decide if they wish to use this facility or not.

10. Can other symbols or flags be displayed on number plates?
No. We accept that motorists may wish to display the Euro symbol or the prescribed national flags but we do not wish to see number plates customised by motorists. The purpose of the new regulations is to set standards to ensure that number plates are legible. There is nothing to stop motorists using stickers to display regional emblems or messages on their cars, but the number plate is not the place for these.

11. What is the penalty for an illegal number plate?
The police may issue a fixed penalty notice for number plate offences. The fixed penalty fine is £30 [this is expected to raise to £60 shortly]. The maximum fine is £1000.

12. How are the regulations enforced?
It is for the police to take enforcement action. The police may issue a fixed penalty notice for number plate offences. The fixed penalty fine is £30, (this is expected to raise to £60 shortly) the maximum fine is £1000.

13. Will motorists be required to display a national flag on their number plate?
No, the legislation allows for the voluntary use of national flags. It is for the individual motorist to decide if they wish to use this facility or not.

14. Why is it necessary to regulate the emblems and identifiers used on number plates?
The registration mark is a unique means of identifying a vehicle primarily for taxation and law enforcement purposes. It is important that the Police are able to quickly identify a vehicle and witnesses are able to recall registration marks. To this end the law requires that number plates are clearly readable and lays out what can be displayed on them in the Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001.

15. Will motorists be required to change their existing number plates?
The vast majority of motorists will not need to change their existing number plates. Those that are displaying illegal number plates should replace them or may face enforcement action. This change will make it easier for the police.

16. When will the regulations come into force?
The provisions came into force on 27 April 2009.

17. As NI is part of the UK why don’t these regulations extend to NI?
It is our view that the regulations should not be extended to NI at the current time, as there does not appear to be any consensus on a national symbol. Should that position change then we would be happy to amend the regulations to include NI.

18. As NI is part of the UK why isn’t there a national flag for motorists in NI?
At the current time there does not appear to be any consensus on a national symbol. Should that position change then we would be happy to amend the regulations to include NI.

19. Why has it taken the Government/DfT/DVLA eight years to change this legislation?
Discussions with the Devolved Administrations and regions over the proposal highlighted a number of issues and concerns over the types of flags and/or symbols that might be included and the timing of the changes.
 
What's wrong with the Yellow Flag, St George Cross and the Red Hand of Ulster on a white shield ?

or even

St George Flag, with the Red Hand on a white six-pointed star surmounted by the Royal Crown?

Both valid in Northern Ireland.

Must be difficult for the powers that be to search the Heraldry sites ......

:scratch:
 

Jimmy_Green

War Hero
whitemouse said:
What's wrong with the Yellow Flag, St George Cross and the Red Hand of Ulster on a white shield ?

or even

St George Flag, with the Red Hand on a white six-pointed star surmounted by the Royal Crown?

Both valid in Northern Ireland.

Must be difficult for the powers that be to search the Heraldry sites ......

:scratch:

Clearly they don't to upset the left footers by using the red hand in the symbology.
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Book Reviewer
WM/JG: Do your geography. Northern Ireland and Ulster are not one and the same; the Red Hand emblem is used to signify the province of Ulster, not Norn Iron as a whole. Northern Ireland consists of six of the traditional nine counties of Ulster (Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, and Tyrone) and was created as a distinct subdivision of the UK under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, hence the legislation from DVLA relating to flags and emblems on number plates. Ulster is composed of the aforementioned counties and also Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan, which are part of the Republic of Ireland.

As to the validity of the "Red Hand" emblem on number plates in NI, check the legislation above. Seems perfectly clear enough to me, WM... :roll:
 

Bisley

War Hero
whitemouse said:
It was a suggestion, but as usual ...... !!

Quote " The Red Hand of Ulster appears on the former Government of Northern Ireland banner 1953 - 72 which is used to represent Northern Ireland in some sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games "

http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Hand_of_Ulster

:p

The only official flag of Northern Ireland is the Union Flag. The red hand of Ulster ceased to be legal after 1972 when the NI government was dissolved, which is why there is a problem obviously in NI with republicans

http://ukinnl.fco.gov.uk/en/about-uk/visiting-uk/factsheet-about-union-jack
 
I know that... and I again write (for the hard of reading) "it was a suggestion" ..... !! :roll:

Besides, I don't recall any objections to drivers using the SCO and CYM plates in the UK well before they became officially recognised by DfT/DVLA.

:p
 
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