Guide

UK Registrations - What Do They Mean?

Learn everything you need to know about UK number plates in 2022. Find the latest Ford, Nissan and Mazda cars and vans at your local Sandicliffe.

Feb 28, 2022

UK Registrations - What Do They Mean?

2022 UK Number Plates Explained

New number plates are released in the UK twice a year, in March and September. Find out why and discover what 2022 has in store for your new car’s number plate. 

From March 1st 2022, new cars registered in the UK will arrive at Sandicliffe with a 22-plate. The 22-plate will be with us until August 31st when it will be replaced by the 72-plate. But why do these changes happen? Find out everything you need to know about UK number plates in this handy blog.

What are number plates used for?

It has been a legal requirement for all vehicles in the UK to have a unique registration plate since the advent of the Motor Car Act in 1904. The license plate generally stays with the vehicle for its entire lifespan. However, there are some instances where you can transfer your number plate to a new vehicle.

Number plates are used to register, tax and identify vehicles. A car’s number plate can also reveal its age and where it was initially registered. This makes them a useful tool when purchasing a new or used car. But what changes about them year on year? And why does this happen? Read on to find out!

Find out where your car was registered

All UK number plates follow the same system. The first two letters on your license plate are your ‘local memory tag’. This reveals where your vehicle was first registered. Use the following list to better understand your tag:

AA-AY = Anglia

BA-BY = Birmingham

CA-CY = Cymru (Wales)

DA-DY = Deeside to Shrewsbury

EA-EY = Essex

FA-FY = Forest and Fens

GA-GY = Garden of England

HA-HY = Hampshire and Dorset

HW = Isle of Wight

KA-KY = Borehamwood and Northampton

LA-LY = London

MA-MY = Manchester and Merseyside

NA-NY = North

OA-OY = Oxford

PA-PY = Preston

RA-RY = Reading

SA-SY = Scotland

VA-VY = Severn Valley

WA-WY = West of England

YA-YB = Yorkshire

 

Find out the age of your car

The two numbers that follow your ‘local memory tag’ are the ‘age identifier. The ‘age identifier’ changes every six months, in March and September. This year, the ‘age identifiers’ will be 22 and 72.

This system of identifying the age of a car came into place in March 2002, with 02-plate vehicles. Six months into the year, the ‘age identifier’ changes to 50+ the last two digits of the current year.

For example in 2002, the second ‘age identifier’ was a 52-plate. Similarly, in 2010 we saw the 10-plate and 60-plate, and then in 2018 we had the 18-plate and 68-plate. The 50+ rule for registration plates makes it easy to identify the age of your car.

It can be difficult to work out the age of your car if it was released before this system came into use. Older vehicles use letters to identify their age, which can be confusing. To make things easier, here’s a handy list of older car ‘age identifiers’:

1963 A

1964 B

1965 C

1966 D

1967 E/F

1968 F/G

1969 G/H

1970 H/J

1971 J/K

1972 K/L

1973 L/M

1974 M/N

1975 N/P

1976 P/R

1977 R/S

1978 S/T

1979 T/V

1980 V/W

1981 W/X

1982 X/Y

1983 Y/A

1984 A/B

1985 B/C

1986 C/D

1987 D/E

1988 E/F

1989 F/G

1990 G/H

1991 H/J

1992 J/K

1993 K/L

1994 L/M

1995 M/N

1996 N/P

1997 P/R

1998 R/S

1999 S/T/V

2000 V/W/X

2001 X/Y/51

The last three letters of your license plate are randomly chosen to provide your car with a unique combination of characters.

UK number plate specifications

For your number plate to be legal in the UK, it has to follow several explicit specifications. These cover the size, spacing and font of the characters, as well as the background colour of the plates. The UK number plate specifications state:

  • Characters must be in the Charles Wright font
  • Characters must be 79mm tall and 50mm wide
  • The characters must have 11mm of space between them
  • Character lines must have a thickness of 14mm
  • The margins of the license plate must be 11mm
  • There must be 33mm of space between the age identifier and random letters
  • Front number plates must have a white background
  • Rear number plates much have a yellow background

Can I order a car with a 22-plate today?

From March 1st 2022, you will be able to drive away with the latest 22-plates from your local Sandicliffe dealership. We offer a fantastic range of new Ford, Nissan and Mazda vehicles, making it easier than ever to find the perfect new car for you.

Factoring in delivery times, if you want to be one of the first people on the road with the new 2022 plates, you should pre-order your new can today. Or, if you aren’t concerned with having the latest plates on your vehicle, we also have a fantastic range of nearly-new and used cars available.

Browse our latest offers to secure your new 22-plate vehicle today!

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