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The new rules: British Standard BS AU 145e

The UK has some of the busiest roads and most variable weather in Europe. As a result, we already have some of the strictest rules on number plate construction.


What is the British Standard BS AU 145e?

The new British Standard 'e' rules go even further to ensure public safety and security through ANPR camera readings and harder, more resilient plates. 

When did BS AU 145e go live?

The new British Standard become optional, but not mandatory, from January 2021 as part of a transition period before it became mandatory from 1st September 2021.

I've bought a new set of registration plates and the front is 145d while the rear is 145e. Can I display both on my car or do the pair have to match?

Yes, you can legally display both, providing the 145d-standard plate was made and/or fitted on or before 31st August 2021.

Plates made and fitted on or after 1st September 2021 must be to the new British Standard, BS AU 145e.

My number plates meet BS AU 145d but not BS AU 145e, do I need to change them?

No, providing they (145d plates) were fitted on or before 31st August 2021. The new British Standard BS AU 145e only applies to plates supplied on or after 1st September 2021. Plates meeting the previous standard (BS AU 145d) can remain on your vehicle if supplied before then.

The new British Standard rules go even further to ensure public safety and security through ANPR camera readings and harder, more resilient plates.


Durable and able to resist:

  • Impact. Stone chips and minor parking collisions are unfortunately part of driving. The impact test ensures the plate’s longevity.
  • Bending. The components that make up a plate can separate from each other when the plate is bent. This is sometimes called plate delamination. The bend test prevents delamination on BNMA member supplied plates.
  • Thermal change. The UK’s changeable temperature necessitates this test. The plate’s shape and size must remain the same when subjected to heat and cold.
  • Abrasion (NEW). Plates stay clear and easy-to-read if they pass the abrasion test. This protects against repeated exposure to dirt, road grime and jet-washing.
  • Being removed from a vehicle. Provided adhesive pads are placed correctly along the plate, it will take over 160 hours of consistent pressure to detach a plate that passes the E standard.
  • Weathering. The weathering test under BS AU 145d remains the same under BS AU 145e. It’s a key and extensive test and replicates 2,275 hours of UV exposure; 2½ times more than some other European number plate test schedules.
  • Dirt. As a subset of the weathering test, plates must be able to resist simulated dirt.

Reflective, with the correct: 

  • Colourimetry. Plates must be made of components that show the correct white for front plates, yellow for rear plates and black for printed digits.
  • Retroreflection. To keep them distinct on a plate, the black digits and yellow or white background have very different retroreflectivity rules. The black digits cannot exceed 0.5 retroreflective units (cd/lx) whereas the white or yellow background can’t exceed 150 retroreflective units.
  • Near Infrared contrast (NEW). ANPR cameras read plates by looking at the contrast between the digit and the plate background. This contrast is read in the near infrared (NIR) spectrum, similar to infrared or ultraviolet. The new rules make sure all plates can be read in NIR. The NIR test is repeated at various points during the accreditation process.

Designed and printed with the correct: