The New British Standard for UK number plates, BS AU 145e

What is the new E Standard for number plates?

All number plates manufactured for the UK must meet the new British Standard requirements. This means number plates must now be clearer and more durable, so that they are now readable for longer. The legislation was passed in January 2021. You have until 31st August 2021 to ensure the number plates you supply comply to the new E standard, BS AU 145e.

How will number plates change?

  • From now on only solid black characters are permitted.
  • Fonts, commonly known as Carbon, Hi line and 3D are no longer permitted.
  • All printed materials manufactured by number plate suppliers must have the new British Standard mark, BS AU 145e.
  • All flags must be part of the reflective material, they must not be overprinted or stuck on.
  • The reflective materials used have to be plain with no water marks and must meet photometric requirements.
  • Nothing can be printed within 10mm of the characters other than the registered company name and postcode.
  • The customers’ registered company name and post code must be printed 7mm away from the characters.
  • The maximum height for the customers’ registered name and post code is 10mm and the minimum is 3mm.
  • A printed border is optional, and can be up to 5mm wide, but must be at least 10mm away from the nearest character.
  • The lip area can still be used to advertise and personalise.

Not recommended

Although screws that pierce the plate continue to be permitted, they’re not recommended as they can compromise the durability of the plate. Hills recommend secure sticky pads so that plates last longer and look great.

What’s permitted?

What isn’t permitted?

Why is the standard changing?

The Government want to ensure that number plates are manufactured to the latest technical standards which provide for better durability and compatibility with Automatic Number Plate Recognition or ANPR cameras, meaning number plates must be readable for longer.

The Government and the police depend on ANPR cameras to monitor road and motorist’s safety. They also help to detect, deter and disrupt criminality. This has put pressure on number plates being manufactured to the highest quality so that they’re readable and remain readable for longer.

The new standard introduces two new additional tests. The first requires manufacturers to test their plates with ANPR technology, and the second tests the plates for resistance to abrasion. We have completed these tests and are certified with the new British Standard, BS AU 145e.

Next steps

You have until 31st August 2021 to complete the transition from the D standard to the E standard. This will require a systems and components upgrade. Your Area Sales Manager will be in touch with you to schedule a time that suits you to upgrade your software and components.

More information

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