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      02-10-2013, 12:29 PM   #6
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Found this on another forum, quite interesting...

Morning all

I've been looking at getting a set of pressed metal number plates (from dubmeister, as they sell 'uk road legal' plates which supposedly conform to all of the standards etc). Just to be sure, I thought i'd ask the local police what their view of using these plates were.

Mails below, but thought i'd pass on the information - may come in useful for someone!



I have a query regarding the legality of pressed metal number plates. When the subject has been discussed, there have been mixed opinions, and cases where friends have been told to remove them, however I've read through "The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001" (source: which the extract below explains that providing the plates conform to the BSI standards, then they are legal.

1. The plate must be made of retroreflecting material which, as regards its construction, colour and other qualities, complies with the requirements of—
(a)the British Standard specification for retroreflecting number plates published on 15 January 1998 under number BS AU 145d(1),
(b)any other relevant standard or specification recognised for use in an EEA State and which, when in use, offers a performance equivalent to that offered by a plate complying with the British Standard specification,and which, in either case, is marked with the number (or such other information as is necessary to permit identification) of that standard or specification.
2. Where the registration mark is displayed on the front of the vehicle, it must have black characters on a white background.
3. Where the registration mark is displayed on the back of the vehicle, it must have black characters on a yellow background.

I've seen a response on a forum from a supplier of pressed metal number plates that display them as road legal, who explained the following:

Our plates have been developed with a large plate manufacturer that supplies for example official Netherlands plates and serves other countries and manufactures to many differing standards world wide.. They don't have to be tested by BSI, just be designed to comply, and actually comply if tested, and this is what we have done.

The BSAU 145d regulation has been finely gone through by our manufacturer and relevant sections have be exceeded or met, including a section specifically designed to exclude metal plates, which necessitated a subtle exclusive redesign of the metal base plate and different material to 'regular' Euro show plates, as well as altered letter tooling and lastly permanent laser marking of supplier info and maker info and the standard they are made to.

They have been fully tested by our manufacturer and pre tested against the BS145d standard by the German DIN institute – (in case any major flaws we hadn’t picked up on), who have set up testing environments for BSAU145d now, are testing and will award a certificate to this effect on completion.

We are fully satisfied they comply or exceed BSAU145d and have been told by a British Standards institute they can be marked as such if we are sure they comply by cross referencing DIN regs that duplicate/exceed sections of BS145d and amendments we have made, and they offered additional help if we needed, which we don't.

No UK authority has the knowledge or means to test plates other than British Standard Institute. No Police or local authority can challenge a user as they are marked correctly as to comply, and that’s the end of it as far as prosecution of the user.
If they want to test them they would have to send off to BSI and pay the £6000 to £15,000 fee...and result would be they pass anyway.

Our dealers/suppliers take proper relevant driver/vehicle ID which is a major part of plates being legal, correct lettering and physical plate spec alone is not sufficient as prevention of vehicle cloning is probably the main issue in 'illegal' plates and prosecutions.

Can you please confirm the stance on this matter? Where would I stand if I had metal number plates which conform to BSI rulings but an officer requested I removed the plates and/or issued a fixed penalty notice.

Thanks in advance,

I then got the following (very quick - surprisingly) response:


The answer to your query is in the first section of “PART 1” below and quote

“ The plate must be MADE OF retroreflecting material “

Steel is not a retroreflecting material.

The section you have included from the number plate supplier does not state the plates have been tested and met the British Standard . It states the manufacturer of the plates has done their own testing . It also states they have been told they can mark the plates with the BS mark “ IF THEY ARE SURE THEY COMPLY” which still does not show standards have been met and purely infers it.

Please note that it is the responsibility of the driver/keeper of a vehicle to ensure their vehicle is road legal and anything that casts a doubt on the legality of the registration plate should make you wary of using it.

There is suggestion on the internet that some unscrupulous sellers of show plates could offer to mark the plates to BS standard however they do so knowing that it is the driver who will have to answer the questions at the road side and pay the fine.

Plates have a fixed font style and size. Retroreflective means the plate should reflect light back to its source with a minimum scattering of light which is met by using the vinyl reflective material on the backing of the plate similar to the backing of road signs and the livery on the sides of emergency vehicles which cannot be met by simply painting a metal plate orange or white.

The standards for plates is to allow clear reading of plates and clear photography of plates by roadside cameras and automatic number plate recognition cameras and if your plate fails to meet the standard and you get stopped by police then you are open to prosecution.

You will probably have heard of a spray that was available to stop speed cameras seeing a number plate. This spray directly affected the refelectivity of the plate and could open the owner to other more serious offences than just plate offences.

If you affix such plates to your car then where stopped by police and issued with a fine then your only recourse would be to dispute the case in court in front of a magistrate which would probably still incur you being fined ( now with additional court costs ) the only difference being that the plate manufacturer would then be under scrutiny for supplying the plates.
Also worth pointing out (which the officer above didn't mention) is that ANPR cannot read pressed metal plates as the letters aren't flat to the plate - they stick out, which flags you up to their systems (a friend has been pulled for this, while using 'uk road legal pressed metal plates' since I sent this mail).

So bottom line is, even if a seller advertises them as being road legal, don't always take their word for it

Along with 10 pages of people arguing for and against them, lol.

Not sure what is right, but I've always run pressed plates because I think they look better, and never had bother so I'll continue to do so