New Number Plate Guide: [All You Ned To Know]
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  • New Number Plate Guide [March and September]
  • 23 February 2020
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    New Number Plate Guide [March and September]

    New number plates are released in the UK twice a year, in March and September.

When is the release date for the new number plates?

New number plates are released in the UK twice a year, in March and September. The 20-plate will be released on March 1st 2020 and will apply to any new vehicle registered up until 28 February 2020.

The history of registration plates

The registration plate was a result of cars becoming more and more popular when they first arrived in the U.K. In 1903, the motor car act issued that all vehicles by law had to have a registered number plate to ensure the safety of the vehicle owner as well as the vehicle. The number of plates have to be easily identifiable. 1932 was the year cars began it’s first original numbering system in England and Wales all having letter codes. For example, the city of Birmingham had the letter ‘C’ because it was a crowded place.

The 3 systems in the last 70 years

The Suffix System

The demands for registration significantly increased as more people invested in a car. The suffix system showed the cars year of release by adding a letter code at the end to indicate the year of the plate being issued to the car. For example, see table:










This had good benefits because it enabled people to identify the age of a car if buying second hand. It also means the number sequence that is currently in use to identify each vehicle. Can be used over and over again.


The Prefix System

The next system used was the Prefix system. This reversed the Suffix system so the registration plate was the other way around an example is: A1AAA-Y999YYY. This came into force in 1983 when the suffix system ran out of combinations. The year indicator was now at the front of the plate with the region code at the back.

It was called the Prefix system because the year was displayed at the front of the plate. Because the system was the same but reversed it had the same advantages as the Suffix System.









The Current System

The current system has been in place since September 2001. The current registration plate has a two-letter regional identifier called the local memory tag. It has a two-digit identification number showing the age of the vehicle. The random 3-letter combination allows each vehicle a specific identity.

At the start of each year, the number ID starts with 0 and 5 after six months of the year. For example, March 2020 would be 20 and November 2020 would be 70. This change for the systems allows registration plates to change twice a year prolonging the life of the current scheme being used.





2001 2nd Half


2002 1st Half


2002 2nd Half


Number Plate Rules

On 1st September 2001, The DVLA released all the details for compulsory number plates along with the new system. The chosen font in current use aims to make number plates easy to read. Any number plate on a car registered after this date must contain all the following correct features such as:

  • Character Font ‘Charles Wright’

  • Spacing Between Character - UK registration plates use monospacing

  • Spacing - A gap of 11mm must be left between each digit, as well as an 11mm margin around the outside of the registration plate. The gap in the middle separating the digits into 2 groups must be exactly 33mm.

  • Size of Characters - All number plate characters must be 79mm tall and 50mm wide with a thickness of 14mm.

Upcoming Number Plate dates

The upcoming number plate available in March 2020 is the 20 plate.

Plate Number

Date Range of Plate

19 Plate

March 2019 to August 2019 

69 Plate 

September 2019 to February 2020 

20 Plate

March 2020 to August 2020 

70 Plate

September 2020 to February 2021 

21 Plate

March 2021 to August 2021

71 Plate

September 2021 to March 2022 

How long will the current number plate system last?

The number plate system in place will last until 2051 because adding 50 every September will eventually require an extra digit on the plate. In the future, there will be a new solution provided by the DVLA.

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