First pictures of new number plates without EU flag and with the Union Jack released

First pictures of new number plates without EU flag and with the Union Jack released
Driving licences and number plates have been given a ‘historic’ makeover as new rules make it easier for Britons to drive in the EU.

The Department for Transport shared designs showing an updated driving licence and a new number plate without the distinctive blue band on the left-hand side:


Image: Department for Transport


Another image tweeted by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps shows that the Union Jack will be added to the green band on plates specially made for electric vehicles.

New registration plates and licences without the EU flag have been issued from 1 January 2021. Although existing versions will still be valid, the new designs will be used when renewing a licence.

A new deal between the UK and 27 EU states plus Switzerland and Norway forgoes the need for a £5.50 international driving permit.

Although current lockdown rules prevent most UK drivers from leaving the country, motorists won’t need to display a GB sticker in most EU countries if their number plate has GB or GB with a Union Flag on it.

Mr Shapps said: “Changing the designs of our driving licences and number plates is a historic moment for British motorists.

“Looking to the future, whether it’s for work or for holidays abroad, these changes mean that those who want to drive in the EU can continue to do so with ease.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “UK driving licences and number plates have been given a makeover to signify the beginning of a new chapter for the UK.

“The new designs coincide with the beginning of a number of agreements recently made between the UK and member states for British drivers, making it easier for Britons to drive in the EU when existing restrictions end.”

Green number plates made their debut on UK roads in December 2020 after the Transport Secretary highlighted the need for a ‘green recovery’ from the economic impact of coronavirus.

Mr Shapps said: “Green number plates could unlock a number of incentives for drivers and increase awareness of cleaner vehicles on our roads.”

It’s believed that local authorities could use the easily identifiable plates to help offer discounted parking, entry to low emission zones and other schemes.

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “While this is well-intentioned, we don't believe green number plates on their own will do much to make people switch to an electric car.

“We'd much prefer the Government looked at things like bringing in the right financial incentives.”

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