posted 4 years ago

DVLA Survey: Is Registration Plate Supply System Fit For Purpose?

DVLA Survey Seeks Views Of Motorists & Registration Plate Suppliers

A DVLA survey could reveal whether the system for supplying registration plates is “fit for purpose” and “safeguarding the interests of the public”. Registration plate rules ensure that – as far as practical – only registered suppliers manufacturer plates and their customers have a legal right to display them. The purpose of these rules is to minimise crimes such as vehicle identity theft. The DVLA survey can be completed online in five minutes and has two sections, one for suppliers and one for members of the public. Questions for the former relate to where the supplier obtains the plates' component parts, e.g. directly from manufacturers. The survey also encourages the respondent to suggest changes to the current system. These might make the process simpler and/or more secure. The respondent is also asked how many plates his/her business produces and how long a customer typically waits for delivery. The section of the survey for members of the public has a different focus. Questions relate to where the respondent  most recently bought plates, why that outlet was chosen and what documents the supplier viewed to ensure the customer was entitled to that number, e.g. V5C. Again, the motorist can also suggest how the process of obtaining a vehicle plate could be improved.

DVLA number plate review survey

UK Registration Plate Format Rules

From September 1st 2001, registration plates for new cars – and some older car that require replacement plates – must meet a specific range of criteria. For example, the black lettering must be a standard format/font and not italic. 3D is permitted, however. It must also be a specific size, i.e. height of seventy-nine millimetres. There are spacing requirements too. As such, the characters must be eleven millimetres apart and the spaces between groups of characters must be thirty-three millimetres. Top, bottom and side margins must be at least eleven millimetres. The motorist can also have a flag at the extreme left of the plates such as the Union Flag, the Cross of St. George, the Scottish Saltire or the Red Dragon of Wales. These can be accompanied by letters such as “GB” for Great Britain or “ENG” for England, etc. Alternatively, he/she can have the European symbol accompanied by “GB” for Great Britain. This element – that ensures the vehicle is not required to have a separate GB sticker while travelling through mainland Europe - must also be a specific colour and size, etc. However, the registration plate format requirements are different for cars registered prior to 1973, and for motorbikes/tricycles.


Fuss indeed..., if it ain't broke why try fixing it?. Spend the time/money on something Practical.., like stupid parking and getting rid of speed cameras!

(It's aware of police time stopping motorists and issuing fixed penalty notices when they could be catching real criminals and villains) Too dangerous, real villains might biff them, so its much safer to persecute a motorist, and motorists pay their fines, villains get let off by limp wristed judges :-)

Don't see what the fuss is about there are that many different styles on the road as long as they are legible why bother with spacing as long as you can define the characters I personally see no problem with that. It's aware of police time stopping motorists and issuing fixed penalty notices when they could be catching real criminals and villains .

Can't see what all the fuss is about.If I need a new number plate I cut a piece of metal to the correct size,spray it,and use stick on numbers and letters costing 25 pence each.

the comment about the swiss system is the only way to proceed to help reduce crime , also , why not have a system the same as the swiss [ I think its them ] whereas they must display 3 small square stickers in windscreen to show a vehicle has valid tax / insurance / mot . any body in the country will then be able to report a vehicle not road worthy . again cutting down crime .

Why are British Motor cycle plates so damned big? The largest in the motorised world! - are our Police visually challenged?

Why do we not use a system like the Swiss? Very briefly: An individual has a set of plates for each vehicle they own. When a vehicle is changed, those plates are changed to the new vehicle ie the vehicle now has no plates until another buyer is found. The plate is linked to vehicle insurance and tax. If insurance and tax are not renewed the Authorities would advise the owner, who has to explain and or return the plates.

How many twisted lettering fonts do you see about, plus those plates covered in mud which are totally illegable - yet are these vehicles ever stopped and fined ? No !!!

Not more changes for changes sake! Well, keeps highly paid staff in a job dreaming up schemes and motorists costs up. The present system of plate supply seems to work and you can get a quote on price....if a supplier isn't keeping to the rule sthen the DVLA could fine/prosecute them - or are fines for minor overlooks just for the poor old private motorist?

Totally agree with making the number plate issued to the person. This farce of two plates a year has only increased the price of new vehicles because of idiots who have to keep the current year reg. Issue to the person makes sense and stop the rip off.

enough regulation already, another job creation scheme, nonsence

come on its not rocket science i get all my plates from enay,why, all you do is order on line and come next day you get the plate you want the size you want and smaller information like bsa code and sellers address,nobody wanto to be forced to disply the traders details, free adsvertising, let the drive pick plates on ebay+£10 for car or £8 bike go to halfords and they want £30 see the point

why does this government allow the DVLA to rip off motorists in the uk I registered a second hand car in france a few years ago I changed the ownership at the frences DVLA who left me with the old registration on the vehical and a document with my new registration which gave me 48 hours to change the number plates I then drove to an approved garage who made the new plates and fitted them for 20 euros and they distroyed the old number plates so simple and not a bad price come on U K wake up stop trying to rip us off again

Many years ago I had an animal run out in front of me as I was driving to work. It smashed the front plate. I simply phoned up a factors that I would be passing on my way home, ordered a new plate by phone, collected it on my way home and fitted it once at home. Under current law, I'd have had to go home first, find the V5, drive to a place that made plates, order the plate, and return to collect it later, making it 2 or 3 days minimum that I'd be without a legal plate. The current system is madness.

I think they should change the plates to plates like America that are you road tax to so they have to issue you new one

Dear Keith Burns, sorry to hear about your Aston. Damn shame mate. As for the plate, No, thanks all the same. You see, in your case, the plate represented the car! If it was mine, it would make me no better than the social inadequates who try to spell their name or put their initials on their car. Poor deluded souls!, think 5 looks like an S or 4 looks like an A! Should have gone to specsavers,or better still, just don't leave the house lol.

I meant to add to my last that every day I see registration plates that are either illegal or misrepresented; I can see them but the police can't??? Who's kidding who one cares unless you commit an RTA...then they'll 'charge' you plenty!!!

Why are we wasting time and effort contributing here? DVLA make a fortune from the car owner; if they are having a problem with registration plates then they should get it sorted out. We actually pay them to have secure and safe systems in place!

i agree the number plate should be issued to the person not the car, just add year code to satisfy the the new car owners and sellers

The rules for spacing of letters is too rigid. Personal number plates are bought for a purpose i.e. to make a name etc. The owner of the registration should be allowed to customise the plate, often the end result is much easier to memorise if the vehicle is involved in an accident.

Either go back to the system of getting number plates from any supplier so that would stop the DVLA approved ones from charging way too much for the plates, and it would also stop us getting our number plates stolen in car parks by crooks to do no good in. Or I agree with issuing the plate to the person not the car. Personalised reg numbers could still be issued, but you would now know who every car was registered too. And make the penalty for stealing such plates severe enough to deter them. 300 hours boot camp or something personally and not financially penalising as they will just use more stolen money to pay fines, or claim they have nothing and therefore pay nothing while law abiding citizens get unfairly stuffed for speeding etc.

the current system is not fit for purpose it is easy to change the plate letter spacing and to get copies made. there should be some form of hologram or QR code embeded in the number plate that can be recognised by AMPR system but not visable to the eye. this would help prevent cloning of the plate.

Agree with Roger Newman. Number Plate issued to the person not the vehicle.

I believe that the plates hould be issued to the person not the vehicle. Multi ownership could easily be covered by the addition of a prefic number.i.e. "0" for the first set then "1" etc for subsequent sets. The plate could include your initials and whould then be linked to your driving licence details.

Like Scandinavia, why not let the Government be the SOLE supplier of N/Plates, that would eliminate all those idiots who alter them to look like a name or something pathetic. Get a life!

Keyless car theft is epidemic & plates are merely stolen to hide identity. Plate issue isn't a problem for them !

Sorry David Medici, your argument falls down for those who have more than one vehicle.

Once again the governments financial exploitation of the public, if you pay tax and insurance and run a roadworthy motor car only then should you be issued with a registration number. I have a old car which was was in storage with its own registration number which I have been told I cannot use or transfer unless I pay more money to the DVLA.

all they haft to do is issue a plate to you when you pass your test you take it from car to car but that is to simple.

Dear Alexander McAleese, I have recently scarpped my 1963 Aston Martin V8 which had the registration AMV 8. I don't need it anymore and it has your initials. I think it must be worth £500+ but I can't be bothered trying to sell it. Would you like it as a gift? Please email me at

My partner is disabled why not put a wheel chair onto the number plate like USA instead of having to put the the cardboard plate in to the window everytime you get out of the car so if you forget the number plate states your are disabled

No-one on here has suggested a system that would improve matters. All the suggestions could be easily copied by determined fraudsters. This is more a problem of enforcement and like so many laws which are ignored, they become a waste of time money and effort. I did not see any reference above to banning personalised number plates and if so, what on earth would it achieve? Besides, DVLA makes a fortune out of us sad members of society who wish to hide the age of our old cars and become more individualistic!

Ah Gus Stewart, I do love reading the comments of people like you on articles they obviously haven't read! This is about the supply of plates from the likes of Halfords etc to, for instance, replace broken or damaged ones, and has nothing to do with 'cherished plates' or their moronic " I want to be special, but I'm really not!" owners. Bet you have one, don't you? If not try ID 10T lol .

I think our present system is crazy, as commented earlier, in Germany & I think France they have metal Plates which show that the vehicle is Taxed & MOT'd & the area, also I believe they keep the same Plate for life which sounds very sensible & must cut admin. Our old system identified the County of registration which was good. Certainly the Cherished Number Plates have to be kept. However, it doesn't matter what we say, Brussels will concoct some expensive obscure, obtuse & expensive system!

mend the dam roads and stop ass about with stupid ideas that end up costing the tax payer

Used to live in Switzerland. The plate was per individual(not vehicle) and you renewed it each year at govt agency.. took 30mins to apply year identifier and return to you. Why on earth the UK has such a corrupt, antique system, God only knows. The Police's job wold also be easier..

If it isn't broken, don't fix it!!!

The plating system is fine. Let people have personalised plates. Keep two number plates to allow easy I.d. Illegal plates must be inforced more whether it is the abuse of personalised plates or just breaching size and font rules. These laws exist for a reason and should be inforced. The Q plate registration I think should be restricted to modified vehicles as I think at the moment it includes more than that. The DVLA office in Coleraine should be retained.

Metal plates are used in Germany and they identify the area where the vehicle is registered, similar to our own system but where they differ is the plates are embossed showing that the vehicle has been taxed and carries a current (TUV) in our case an MoT. At a glance this proves the vehicle is legal for the road.

If it didn't require fixing leave it Or is this another ruse to scew the motto rust

There is absolutely no need or reason to abolish the Cherished Number Plate system, other than jealousy. Many people have invested thousands of pounds for cherished numbers and there would be an outcry if they were to be abolished, and DVLA themselves make hundreds of thousands of pounds from the sale of Cherished Numbers!

Register the owner not the car then this could transfer from car to car eliminating the need for personalised plates or vehicle registrations.

We should abolish front number plates as they are not required motocycles manager on 1 why not cars? The USA manages on a rear plate only we should do the same and improve the frontal area of cars to reducs further emissions by having a more dynamic shape not dependent on flat areas

Seems like there is a certain amount of envy for those who condemn or ban the cherished plate system. Just ensure that cherished plates are of a standard format.

Do as in Germany; plates are issued local to where you live; if you move you need to re-register. 'Private plates' do exist but in a very limited form, i.e. they still show where you live. Plates carry all details so Police can tell at a glance if you are legally on the road. Or do as in Belgium; the licence plate relates to the owner and moves from car to car.

Two fundamental issues with the current system. 1. The plates are easy to remove and easily copied. This makes cloning vehicles too easy. 2. The trade in cherished plates feeds the desire to have a registration that is distinct to the owner, and limits the potential for the better use of number plate recognition systems, as plates are produced and displayed in unreadable formats. A solution would be for vehicles to be allocated a number at the registering dealer and for embossed or pressed plates with a certifying mark to be permanently fitted at registration. No number changes to be permitted and a programme to have all vehicles converted to the system within 3 years. End the cherished plates market. Permanently fix the registration mark to the vehicle.

Why are so many vehicles allowed to drive on a public highway with doctored registration plates,i.e. amended spacing, unreadable fonts to spell names etc, bearing in mind, number plate standards are an MOT qualification?

Does not tell us much that is not very common knowledge, bit of a waste of space.