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COVID Personalised Number Plates Banned By DVLA

COVID-19 Related Personalised Number Plates Banned by the DVLA

The DVLA has moved to ban personalised number plates that could be considered to refer to COVID-19. There are fears that the plates could cause offence or distress to people who have lost friends or family members to the disease.

Fears Over Offensive Pandemic Number Plates

A report in the Sunday Telegraph has revealed that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has banned personalised number plates that could be construed as referring to COVID-19 and the pandemic.

The government agency made the decision to block the creation and sale of registration numbers such as ‘COV 1D’, ‘COV 11D’ and ‘COV 111D’ over concerns they are in poor taste and might cause offence or embarrassment, particularly to those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic. A similar move was made in South Australia last year after a BMW prompted outrage when it was seen at Adelaide Airport displaying the number plate ‘COVID19’.

Since the DVLA started selling private number plates in 1989, they have always tried to weed out rude plates. Any combinations of numbers and letters that could be read as swear words or having sexual or offensive content have been banned from being sold. However, the latest ban on words referring to a health crisis is a first.

A DVLA spokesman said, “We suppress any registration number combinations that may cause offence, embarrassment or are in poor taste. This includes combinations that could be interpreted as referring to Covid-19.”

Boom in the Sale of Health Service Number Plates

While the COVID-19 related registration numbers have been banned, there has been a surge in the sale of personalised number plates celebrating the NHS and other health care services. The boom has led to dramatic increase in the value of such plates.

In the midst of the pandemic last year, the registration number ‘1 NHS’ was sold at an online auction for £120,000. Mysteriously, the buyer later pulled out of the purchase, so the plate will be put up for auction again in the next few weeks.

Our own Jason Wilkes, founder and chief executive of CarReg, said, "Number plate buyers bored at home during lockdowns have really caught on to buying unique registrations.

“Backed by a massive government campaign, NHS plates are now collectors’ items and have a real value. The entire number plate reseller market is ablaze.”

The surge in sales of healthcare related plates has prompted CarReg to give 10 per cent of such sales to NHS charities.

The number plate ‘WHO05 NHS’ which previously held little value, is now on the market for £11,000. Ordinary words that have become associated with the health crisis are also being traded for large sums. For example, SH18 ELD is currently on sale for £5,174, while PAN 11C can be bought for £5,499, and PPE1 has an asking price of £25,000.

Invest in Your Own Personalised Number Plates

The above plates can be found in our database of almost 60 million personalised number plates. Invest in your own private plates from CarReg today and watch their value grow as you proudly display them on your car.