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 vehicleâ€™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 â€˜GBâ€™ sticker. UK vehicles travelling within the EU have the option of displaying the traditional oval GB sticker or the â€˜Euro-plateâ€™. Euro-plates are number plates incorporating the Euro symbol with the inter-national identifier (GB) underneath. 6. Why continue to use â€˜GBâ€™ on oval stickers and Euro-plates for UK registered vehicles? Use of the letters â€˜GBâ€™ for the purposes of identifying vehicles used abroad dates back to 1909. We have consulted on changing to â€˜UKâ€™, the last time in 1999 but there was limited support for the proposal. As â€˜GBâ€™ is so well known for this purpose, it was decided not to change. 7. Is the traditional oval â€˜GBâ€™ 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 â€˜GBâ€™ sticker or the â€˜Euro-plateâ€™. 8. What is the Euro-plate? The Euro-plate is a number plate incorporating the Euro-symbol â€“ a circle of yellow or white stars on a blue background, with the Member Stateâ€™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 Â£30 [this is expected to raise to Â£60 shortly]. The maximum fine is Â£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 Â£30, (this is expected to raise to Â£60 shortly) the maximum fine is Â£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 donâ€™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 isnâ€™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.