Muddle over eligibility for old-style non-reflective numberplates

See our earlier article on this topic. More

Posted: 150911

Chris Hunt Cooke explains how this mistake slipped through. "The legislation governing the type of number plate that may be fitted is Sch. 2 to The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 LINK which sets out the dates we would expect, so that it is stated that ‘VEHICLES REGISTERED ON OR AFTER 1ST JANUARY 1973 AND BEFORE 1ST SEPTEMBER 2001‘ must have white and yellow reflective plates, either of the current design or the previous one, and vehicles registered before 1st January 1973 may have either white and yellow reflective plates or, optionally, black and white plates. So far so good and the position is clear and as expected.

However Regulation 18 LINK provides that a vehicle first registered on or after 1st January 1973 shall be treated for the purpose of the regulations as registered before that date if it is an exempt vehicle or was constructed before that date. “Exempt vehicles” cover quite a variety LINK but what concerns us is that they include old vehicles. Quite why all these other exempt vehicles should be able to carry black and white numbers is not clear, but for old vehicles there was no difficulty because the date from which they became exempt coincided with the number plate change date of Sch 2. However, as the date of exemption has been advanced in recent budgets, vehicles have become

exempt, and therefore deemed for number plate purposes to have been registered prior to 1st January 1973 and eligible for the option of B&W plates, which they were not allowed when new. Clearly it was not appreciated at the time of the budgets that making a tranche of vehicles exempt would have the unintended side-effect of allowing them to carry B&W plates. DVLA say they are considering what opportunities there are in order to make any Regulatory changes to reflect the original position."