HL Deb 08 February 1982 vol 427 cc86-7WA
Lord Lucas of Chilworth

asked Her Majesty's Government:

If they will now announce their decision on the future vehicle registration number system when the current series has been completed in 1983.

The Earl of Avon

My right honourable friend has been pleased by the very full response to the consultation which began in 1980. Some ingenious ideas were put forward, but the majority of the motoring public and the motor trade overwhelmingly wanted a simple system which would minimise the cost of change. They favoured straightforward reversal of the present format, ie, a single letter, three figures then three letters instead of the present lay-out. Such an arrangement would also be acceptable to the police, and my right honourable friend has accordingly decided to accept this advice and reverse the present format in 1983.

My right honourable friend is arranging for his officials to consider with the motor trade two issues which remain unresolved. The first concerns the choice of August as the month in which the year letter changes. It causes problems for some organisations as did January before the month was changed in 1967. The second concerns the question of whether the present age letter is appropriate for all vehicles, particularly imported used vehicles and rebuilt vehicles. In both these cases, the year letter identifies the date of registration rather than the age of the vehicle, and this can cause confusion. My right honourable friend will announce his decisions on these two points later.