UK number plates could be scrapped under EU law

Number plates
11 Apr, 2014 12:51pm Joe Finnerty

MEPs will vote on proposals to introduce a single-coloured plate across the EU

A plan to introduce a single-coloured number plate across the EU and replace the UK's 110-year-old design will be voted on by MEPs next week.

The European Parliament is considering standardising number plates across the continent as part of a wider policy to make it easier to re-register cars abroad.

The proposals could see Britain’s 110-year-old number plate switched to fall in line with European neighbours. The latest plans are actually a watered-down version of the initial policy, which called for a single number plate to be introduced across the EU. It’s all part of a wider policy to make it easier to travel around the continent being discussed by the European Parliament.

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Brussels could also ask for vehicles to be fitted with ID tags to cut down on fraud and the cloning of number plates. This would make the trading of cars across the EU easier, as well as tracking cars using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) software. Auto Express has previously reported how the UK Government currently has no ability to record the number of foreign vehicles in the country.

The single-colour proposals will be voted on next week and Conservative MEPs are set to oppose the move. However, other European countries are believed to support the plans.

A spokesman for the Conservative MEPs told Auto Express they would fight it at the vote and even if others supported it, David Cameron and the British Government would be able to stop it going through in the EU.

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Simon Williams, a RAC spokesman, added: “The British number plate is simple, highly effective and, while it has changed several times over the years, has been part of our driving heritage for 110 years.”

Questions remarks remain over the impact any changes would have on personalised plates. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) makes millions of pounds each year when new plates are released in March and September and would not want to lose this revenue stream under any EU imposed changes.