Number Plates Concern Sparked Unnecessarily by Scaremongering Newspapers

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Motorist are concerned by claims in a national newspaper implying that number plates that display UK national flags leave owners subject to prosecution. The story only told half the story and an independent number plates dealer is left to reassure the public regarding the full facts.

the police and Trading Standards have been asked not to take enforcement action against the number plates.

A news report, published by the Daily Telegraph on 24th October, has caused motorists concern as it states that those displaying national flags other than the European Union, face fines as they are illegal in the UK. However, Regtransfers can confirm that, although the DVLA's rules governing the display of numberplates only recognise the Euro symbol, the DVLA insists that enforcement authorities have been advised not to take any legal action against those who display other flags.

The report, published today by the national newspaper, states that motorists who display national flags face a fine of £60, as well as a possible MoT failure. The issue was raised after MP Bob Spink was contacted by angry drivers who have been allegedly fined for displaying national flags.

However, Registration Transfers can confirm that, after having spoken directly to the DVLA today, the display of national flags is not illegal. Referring to a letter written by the DVLA, dated 28 June 2006, the DVLA spokesperson said, "In December 2001, the government announced its intention to allow the optional display of national flags and emblems on number plates. The regulations would allow the optional display of either the Union flag, Cross of St. George, Scottish Saltire or the Red Dragon of Wales with the accompanying identifiers, i.e. GB, ENG, SCO or CYM."

The letter, which the DVLA confirms still stands, goes on to say that, although an announcement was made by the Minister for Transport, John Spellar, on 28 December 2001, confirming that national flags are allowed, the regulations are yet to be altered due to legislative issues. However, the letter states that "the police and Trading Standards have been asked not to take enforcement action against the number plates."

The ambiguity over the issue is understandable, however, as the DVLA also states that, while they advise enforcement authorities to refrain from taking action, the responsibility for enforcing the regulations as they currently stand rests with the police and the other enforcement agencies.

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RICK CADGER
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