There's a lot of confusion out there about what is or isn't a legal number plate.
The biggest area of confusion has been the legality of flags on car number plates. Are they legal? Are they not? Which ones are ok, and which are not? The one we see most often is the Euro / GB badge. This is, of course, perfectly acceptable. There was less clarity about other (more patriotic!) flags. This year all was clarified by Geoff Hoon (Transport Secretary). All four flags... Scotland, England, Wales, and the Union Jack are now fully legal.
"I look forward to seeing our national symbols on cars around the country"
said Mr Hoon.
Motorists in England, Scotland and Wales can now display the Union flag, Cross of St George, Cross of St Andrew (also known as the Saltire) or Red Dragon of Wales. And one of these identifiers can also be displayed: GREAT BRITAIN, Great Britain, GB, UNITED KINGDOM, United Kingdom, UK, CYMRU, Cymru, CYM, Cym, ENGLAND, England, ENG, Eng, SCOTLAND, Scotland, SCO, Sco, WALES or Wales.
The image must be on the left side. No other image is not allowed. That means no football emblems, cartoon characters, or anything else!
The DVLA are very specific about what is or isn't legal. Letters and spaces on car number plates are defined down to the last mm. As are background colours. Fancy fonts and background images are definitely not legal on a number plate.
Incorrect fonts or manipulated letters and numbers make it difficult for any automated number plate recognition (ANPR) system to read the number plate. Even the car mot test has become more stringent this year.
The problem is that many people don't really understand what is or isn't a legal car number plate. If you have number plates made up by a reputable company they will know the rules. And should refuse to provide a number plate that doesn't comply. You will also be asked to provide full documentation to prove you are entitled to that registration number - that's likely to include your V5 log book and proof of ID.
Increasingly, there are a number of online car number plate manufacturers. Buying number plates online is easy and popular. Many offer the option of 'legal number plates' or 'show plates'. Show platesusually allow you to move letters around, add images, etc. Be warned - these are not legal. And you run the risk of being stopped and fined if you have an illegal number plate.