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What will happen to registration numbers in 2010

Number plates now change every six months instead of every twelve, to show this number plates use a zero or a five before the year itself. For example, the first half of 2009 is shown as 09 and the second half as 59.

The style of number plates changed in September 2001. The format since then has been two letters, known as 'local memory tags', two numbers to indicate the year of registration (first or second half) known as 'age identifiers', followed by three more letters known as the 'random element'.  From March 2010, the age identifier will be 10, changing to 60 in September 2010.  In March 2011, the age identifier will be 11, changing six months later to 61.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) says this pattern will continue until all permutations are exhausted.   Local memory tags show in which part of the country a vehicle was first registered.   For example, London registrations start with the letter L, while West of England registrations, which include Exeter, Truro and Bristol local offices, start with a W.

Since the new format was introduced it has been illegal for new or replacement plates to use anything other than the approved typeface which is easily read by speed cameras.   The letters I and Q are not used in the new format and the letter Z is used only in the random element.