Number plates with 'offensive' meanings to be banned with major changes weeks away

A UK number plate

The DVLA has unveiled its list of banned number plates

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 21/08/2023

- 11:41

Updated: 21/08/2023

- 16:03

Any number plates which are deemed to be in “poor taste” or may cause offence will be banned

Drivers are being warned of a new list of banned number plate registrations with major changes set to be introduced next month.

On September 1, the new “73” number plate will be introduced, with many in the car industry expecting a boom in registrations of brand new cars.

Personalised number plates are legal and used by drivers across the UK to give their cars a personal touch, but not all combinations of letters and numbers are allowed.

According to a Freedom of Information request, a new list of banned number plates has been unveiled as drivers not seeing any of them on the road.

Grant Shapps with a green number plate electric car

New number plates are being released in September


The DVLA evaluates personalised number plate requests for anything which “may cause offence, embarrassment or are in poor taste”.

Some of the plates on the banned list take aim at certain groups or Government policies, while many drivers attempt to get away with having a swear word on their car.

The new “73” plates on the banned list include “BO73 CKS” or “EA73 POO” with controversial or rude requests being dismissed.

A number of other plates with the combination of “AN73” or “anti” will also be restricted.

This includes “AN73 VAX” and “AN73 WAR” have been removed, as well as people angry with clean air zones wanting the number plate “AN73 LEZ”.

Paul Barker, managing editor at carwow, commented on the banned “73” number plates and what it would mean for drivers.

He added: “As well as being big business for the Treasury, personal number plates are a bit of fun for many drivers in the UK, and this list shows where the line is in terms of plate humour.

“You might think it’s ‘BU73 SHT’, but you wouldn’t be allowed to have that as your car number plate.

“But behind the banned plate fun is a serious point that September and March plate-change months are huge for consumers and the car industry.”

Plates targeting people or countries are banned too. This includes “HA73 HRH”, “HA73 USA” and “HA73 RUS”.

Even some plates which may not seem as harmful are not allowed, including “TH73EAT” and “NO73 JOB”.

Mr Barker continued, saying: “On the one hand you’ve got the clamour to be seen with the newest number plate and on the other you’ve got bargains to be had on late cars with the ‘old’ 23 plate and beyond.


Shakespeare-inspired number plates

Personalised number plates will always be monitored by the DVLA


“There’s an influx of used cars as new car sales shoot up, which means plenty of choice for consumers, even if you’re not looking for the newest thing.”

You may like