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


The standard officially doesn't come in until 31st August 2021 however numberplate suppliers have to complete the transition from the D standard to the E standard. This requires a system upgrade. Once this upgrade has taken place, suppliers legally have to abide by the new E standard legislation.


Here at GKs, we have moved over to the new software and therefore will only be able to produce BS AU 145e plates from this point forward. The software ensures it is physically impossible for us to create anything other than the legal standard.


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. (This has decreased in size by 3mm)

  • Although screws that pierce the plate continue to be permitted, they’re not recommended as they can compromise the durability of the plate. Secure sticky pads are an alternative.

What’s permitted?

As a BNMA (British Number-plate Manufacturer Association) member, we can only supply British Standard plates. This is an example of a legal plate that conforms to the BS AU 145e standard.

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.

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