Avoiding a fine for incorrect registration plates
With the end of paper road tax discs on 1st October 2014, the DVLA
has been relying on Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras
to check vehicles have a current vehicle excise duty, even a NIL value
VED for a Historic tax class vehicle exempt from road tax. Using ANPR
cameras also give the police the opportunity of spotting other offences
- for example no current MOT or motor insurance - but also incorrect
types of number plates for which there is a potential fine of up to
and white" number plates
The current edition of the DVLA document INF104 covers the subject
very well and is an essential reference. That document states "vehicles
made before 1st January 1973 may display traditional "black and
white" number plates - for example, white, silver or grey characters
on a black plate". But they can also use the later reflective
plates which vehicles manufactured after 1st January 1973 must display
which are made of a reflective material with a white background at
the front of the vehicle and a yellow background at the back of the
vehicle with black letters and numbers.
Since April 2018
the number plate requirements for many classic cars changed because
vehicles manufactured before 1st January 1978 were permitted to display
the older style "black and white" plates. To do so the keeper
of the vehicle must: have
applied to DVLA for the
road tax class to be changed from PLG (Private Light Goods) to Historic
and have the tax class on the V5C changed from PLG to Historic.
INF104 also notes "vehicles constructed 40 or more years ago
are exempt from VED/road tax. The 40 year exemption date rolls forward
automatically each year on 1st April". But INF104 then adds
"so from 1st April 2019 vehicles manufactured before 1st January
1979 will be eligible for exemption and permitted to fit "black
& white" number plates".
Why does the
VED annual exemption annual rollover also apply to number plates?
It does seem odd that permission to use "old style" black
and white number plates rolls on in the same way as the eligibility
to be a "Historic" vehicle for VED/road taxation exemption.
You might have thought the black and white number plates would only
be allowed on cars that originally had them, but that annual roll
over is at present the correct position.
This appears to have been an oversight. When the Historic class
was at the fixed date of 1st January 1973 it was correct, but when
the eligibility for "Historic" status and VED exemption
began to roll forward on an annual basis, the permission to use
earlier number plates also continued to roll forward on the same
basis. The UK authorities seemingly failed to pick up that it would
have that effect, permitting all Historic class vehicles the use
of black and white plates. At some time in the future the position
may be corrected, but this would be unlikely to be retrospective,
so vehicles that had become eligible to carry old style number plates
allowed to keep them.
MOT Testers' manual requirements
The MOT Testers' manual is quite clear on number plates too, para
6.3 states "incorrect plates are a reason for an MOT rejection".