James Duddridge, Rochford and Southend East Conservative MP, has proposed a bill to remove the restrictions on the format of vehicle registration marks.
The bill, if it became law, would allow the sale and transfer of registration marks that would read exactly as they read in the English language. It would give number plate buyers the ability to choose from wider variety of letter and number combinations, as well as raising millions of extra pounds of revenue for the DVLA.
What would this mean and what are some examples? As an individual, at present you can buy the initial number plate SJP 1, but not SJP. You can buy SUE 1 but not SUE. You could buy SCOTT instead of SCO 77.
As a company or organisation, Duddridge pointed out the commercial benefits of passing the bill i.e., that companies would be able to buy registrations with far greater relevancy to their business, for example Tesco could buy TESCO 1, TESCO 2, etc.
Despite the recession, and taking into account the ever-growing private and commercial market for number plates, Duddridge is proposing that an extra £1 billion of revenue could be raised over 10 years.
The deregulation of the market place has been discussed with enthusiasm by Duddridge and bodies such as the DVLA and the AA. Some of these bodies, however, show less enthusiasm and raise real concerns over the passing of the bill.
Amongst these, the Police, security services and the Home Office raise the most serious objections to the proposed changes. Their concerns relate to automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) and its use in the matter of road safety and anti-terrorism.
Duddridge highlighted that these objections must be overcome if the bill is to progress. The removal of the space in number plates was the greatest concern, with fears that this would hinder the efforts of ANPR cameras to effectively capture a registration number. However Duddridge believes that with the extra income raised, ANPR technology could be improved, perhaps to make the equipment more accurate, and overcome this difficulty.
Another objection was in the form of the sale of rude or offensive number plates, however this issue has always been relevant, and has already been dealt with the DVLA, who vet registrations before they are put up for sale.
The bill proposes exciting changes in the market and promises to greatly increase options for personalised registrations. Be sure to keep up to date with our blog to ensure you catch the latest developments on this new bill as we report them.
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