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A Guide to UK Number Plates
25 March 2024

A Guide to UK Number Plates

Number plates have been a legal requirement for all cars in the UK since 1904 with the current system being in place since 2001, but many people still find number plates confusing. With so many combinations of letters and numbers, what do they actually mean?

Components of a Number Plate

Each UK registration plate consists of three primary elements:

  1. Regional Identification Letters
    The first segment of a number plate denotes the region where the vehicle was registered. These letters provide insights into the vehicle's origin, with each region assigned a specific code or codes. For example, one of the identifiers for London is ‘LA’.
  2. Age Identifier Numbers
    The second part of the plate indicates the vehicle's age. This identifier changes every six months, occurring in March and September. With the most recent change being in March 2024, where the code changed to ‘24’. 
Year1 March to end August1 September to end February
2001/02 51
2002/030252
2003/040353
2004/050454
2005/060555
2006/070656
2007/080757
2008/090858
2009/100959
2009/111060
2009/121161
2009/131262
2009/141363
2009/151464
2009/161565
2009/171666
2009/181767
2009/191868
2009/201969
2009/212070
2009/222171
2009/23And so onUntil 50/00 in 2050/51

 

  1. Random Letters
    The final section of the number plate comprises random letters, providing a unique combination for each vehicle. These letters contribute to the overall identification of the car.

 

Other Types of Registration Plates:

There are various other number plates beyond that standard plate such as green number plates and personalised plates.

Green Number Plates
Introduced for electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, these plates signify the vehicle's eco-friendly nature.

Personalised Plates
Personalised plates offer a unique way to customise your vehicle. However, there are regulations to adhere to, such as avoiding offensive language and following spacing rules to ensure compliance with legal standards.

FAQs: Addressing Common Queries

What is the purpose of number plates?

Are there legal requirements for number plates?

Where can I get replacements for damaged or lost number plates?