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UK number plate legalities and new hefty fine

Drivers in the UK are being urged to make important checks to number plates before the launch of new licence plates later this month.

Motoring experts at have warned British motorists could be slapped with a £1,000 fine and failed MOT if found to be driving with illegal plates.

This month the new 2023 age identifier will be introduced as the number plates of new cars – the first licence plate change of the year.

It will display ‘23’ to signify the beginning of the year, and later in September the identifier will change to ‘73’ to show cars registered in the second half of 2023.

The updates to number plates serve as an important reminder to Brits to check their registrations are fully compliant with the law, which changed in September 2021.

Number plates fitted after 1st September 2021 must only show solid black lettering, which helps ANPR cameras clearly identify vehicles on the roads.

It means that any vehicle with reflective effects or different shades on their number plates, could be subject to a fine of £1,000.

Drivers should also ensure the number plate is clean and easy to read – as strictly speaking, even small amounts of dirt could mean having an illegal plate.

According to the DVLA in Britain, licence plates can also not have a background pattern, and need to be marked with a British Standard number.

Number plates are legally allowed to include raised characters, display flags and national identifiers or a green flash on zero emission vehicles.

The letters or numbers cannot be rearranged or be altered to make it hard to read, as these motorists will be driving with an illegal plate and be subject to hefty fines and failed MOTs.

Tim Alcock at said: “The new 2023 age identifiers are due to be rolled out this month onto new car registration plates. This serves as a reminder to check our number plates are legal, else risk receiving a hefty fine and a failed MOT.

“But the law does allow your number plate to have an official country’s flag – such as the Union Jack or the Red Dragon of Wales – or national identifiers – for example, GB, Cymru or Scotland.

“These flags or lettering cannot be on the number plate margin and they cannot be more than 5cm wide.

“We’re urging all drivers in the UK to make sure their number plates are within the words of the law, else they could end up with an expensive fine and be forced to change their licence plate.”