New 22 Reg Plate & Private Number Plates

So what’s changed?

The new 22 plates include all of the recent 2021 rules changes for the manufacture, design and display of car registration plates, plus a couple of new tweaks to the rules as follows:

Country identifier: All new 22 reg plates will continue to have the option of including the UK’s Union Jack (or country-specific flag for England, Scotland or Wales) as a registration plate’s country identifier.

Post-Brexit, any UK number plates manufactured since 1 January 2021 must no longer show the EU stars as a country identifier.

In addition, all UK-based drivers and car owners wanting to drive abroad in EU countries need to ensure any old European Union ‘GB’ stickers or flags are removed or covered up on their vehicles and replaced with the UK flag (or UK country’s flag) and initials instead.

Green flashes: Since 8 December 2021, to show that your car is purely electric and perhaps inspire other drivers to join your environmental crusade, you can have a green marker added to your numberplate by the plate manufacturer.

A green tag on your plate can be especially handy for driving through Clean-Air Zones free of charge.

The country identifier flags and initials mentioned above can be added on top of the green stripe.

Design and materials: In September 2021, the DVLA made changes to the design of new licence plates by using materials that make them less vulnerable to wear and tear.

All plates fitted since 1 September 2021 must be marked with British Standard for Retroreflective Number Plates (number BS AU 145e).

Supplier and manufacturer ID: All new plates must include the vehicle supplier’s company name and postcode and the vehicle registration plate manufacturer’s name.

Alphanumeric characters: So plates are more easily picked up by surveillance equipment such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) or average speed check cameras, all new 22 reg plates should display solid black lettering.

No removable or reflective stickers can be used, nor can two-tone plates using different shades to create a 3D or 4D effect. However, the lettering can continue to be acrylic or perspex.

Registered supplier: All new plates must be made by registered car reg plate suppliers.

IMPORTANT: Displaying illegal number plates can lead to a £1,000 fine and an MOT failure.

How old is my car?

Understandably, due to the huge volume of new cars on the roads and two new registrations being issued every year, you may find it difficult to identify the age of other cars (or, indeed, your own car) and wonder “what year is my car?”

To find out how old a car is, when you look at car number plates you should pay attention to the third and fourth ‘age identifier’ numerical digits displayed immediately after the first two ‘area code’ letters. These two numbers represent when a car was first registered with the DVLA.

However, as mentioned, because there are two new reg plates every year in March and September, many drivers now find deciphering the year of a car particularly confusing for the September registrations.

New registrations in March will feature the last two numerical digits of the year - so the new 2022 plates released in March 2022 will have the number ‘22’ immediately after the two alphabetical ‘area code’ letters.

However, on the next 22 reg plate release date in September 2022, to distinguish the later [September] car registrations from the March registrations, the first two-digit ‘age identifier’ number will be a 7 instead of a 2. So any new reg released in September 2022 will instead show ‘72’ as the two-digit age identifier number instead of ‘22’.

Why is 7 used for September 2022 registrations?

It’s because the method employed to distinguish later registrations from the earlier ones is calculated by adding 50 to the last two digits of the year.

To clarify, this means September 2022 or any later releases up until 28 February 2023 will display the numbers 72 (the sum if you add ‘50’ to the year ‘22’).

More information about alphanumeric digits on number plates including full lists of all the historical car registration years up to the present day and the regional registration plate area codes can be found here.

Note: Did you know that you search for and find a car reg’s tax and MOT information by using online number plate check tools such as

Are there any new rules for personalised number plates?

The exact same rules for standard new UK car number plates (as outlined above) also apply to all personalised private number plates.

In addition to the new changes already touched upon, the government’s standard guidelines for the display and design of a vehicle’s number plate - whether it is a standard new car plate or a personalised plate - also state that:

- the plate must be made from a reflective material

- the front plate displays black characters on a white background

- the rear plate displays black characters on a yellow background

- neither plate should have a background pattern

Why does the DVLA ban some personalised number plates?

Every year the DVLA issues a full list of customised plates that are banned from being used or produced, mainly so as not to offend anyone.

For example, following the pandemic, the DVLA has banned the following plates:

- CO21 ONA

- CO21 VD

- COV 11D

- COV 111D

- CO21 RNA

We personally can’t see the attraction but no doubt there would be a willing buyer somewhere if these DVLA number plates were permitted?!

When can I buy a 22 plate from DVLA?

The DVLA will release nearly 8m brand new 72 series private number plates in May 2022, which will allow you to buy cherished number plates that have a personal meaning to you.

However, the same rule applies as it always has done historically when buying a customised registration - you can only buy a 72 private reg if your car was registered in 2022. You cannot use a personalised reg that has an ID year that’s newer than your car.

For example, if your car was registered in 2021 or any earlier years, you cannot buy and use a 22 or 72 customised plate.

You can search for a DVLA private plate and many other private reg plate sellers online. There are also many online auctions selling private plates you can join.

However, as mentioned, you cannot yet buy 72 plates until private plates for sale are released by DVLA in May 2022.

How can I get a new 22 plate?

As you can’t buy a personalised car plate with the age identifying numbers of 22 unless of course your car is actually registered as new in 2022, there are only two ways in which you can get your hands on a new 22 plate:

- Buy a brand new car

- Lease a brand new vehicle

You can search for your perfect car lease deal on which offer a wide and varied selection of all the top branded vehicles at affordable monthly prices such as the BM2 Series 218 Gran Coupe (released on 27 January 2022).

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