Drivers face heavy fines for not following 2021 number plate rule changes

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According to experts at Car Reg many of the new rules came into effect from 1 January 2021 meaning the changes could have already affected hundreds of motorists. Updates include the introduction of new rules for historic vehicles, electric cars and the use of the GB flag abroad as the UK leaves the European Union.

Drivers who fail to follow the DVLA’s strict number plate criteria face fines of up to £1,000.

Historic vehicles

One of the biggest number plate rule changes to be introduced this year is a change in the legislation for historic vehicles.

From 1 January 2021 only vehicles built before 1 January 1980 are able to display historic black and silver number plates.

Drivers are warned they must apply to the DVLA for these plates in order to use them.

Furthermore, your vehicle must be registered as a “historic vehicle” in its tax class before black and silver designs will be allowed.

Green number plates

Introduced last December, electric car owners can now secure brand new green number plates to unlock a range of extra benefits.

The new plates include a green flash on the left-hand side and warm other road users the vehicle is run on fully-electric power.

The Government has previously suggested the initiative could unlock cheaper parking for electric road users.

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Meanwhile, the new plates could allow for free entry into zero-emissions zones which would encourage more road users to make the transition.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme, Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said the new plates mean “there has never been a better time to switch” to electric vehicles.

She said: “Not only will green number plates raise awareness of the increasing number of cleaner vehicles on our roads, they could also unlock a number of incentives for drivers.

“It’s clear there has never been a better time to make the switch to a zero-emission vehicle.”

GB number plate sticker

As the UK has now left the European Union, drivers are now not able to just rely on their EU/GB number plate when travelling abroad.

Instead, a GB sticker is now also required while a stickler must also be applied for those without a flag or identifier already on their cars.

Technical updates

According to experts at Car Reg, the British Standards Institute (BSI) has updated the technical standards for number plates.

The new updates mean new plates issued to drivers will be more durable and more compatible with ANPR cameras used to pick up driving offences.

Car Reg said different shades of black lettering which create a 3D effect will no longer be allowed.

Instead, the letters and numbers will have to be a single shade of black with all effects banned.

According to Car Reg, the new plates were issued to drivers from 1 January but the new rule will come into force from 1 September.

The DVLA said: “The agency has not seen any evidence to show that number plates displaying raised plastic, acrylic or Perspex lettering (3D/4D plates) are able to meet the requirements of either the current or new British Standard.”

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