New car registration number plates change every six months
The style of number plates changed in September 2001. New car registration number plates change every six months to indicate the half year using a zero or a five before the year itself. For example the first half of 2008 is shown as 08 and the second half as 58, these numbers are known as ‘age identifiers’. The two letters before the numbers are known as ‘local memory tags’. For example, London registrations start with the letter L, while West of England registrations, which include Exeter, Truro and Bristol local offices, start with a W. The following three letters are known as the ‘random element’. The letters I and Q are not used in the new format and the letter Z is used only in the random element.
From March 2010, the age identifier was 10, changing to 60 in September 2010. In March 2011, the age identifier will be 11, changing six months later to 61.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) say this pattern will continue until all permutations are exhausted. Since the new format was introduced it has been illegal for new or replacement plates to use anything other than the approved typeface which is easily read by speed cameras.