GB stickers no longer valid for driving abroad

From September, drivers travelling abroad will have to display UK stickers instead of GB ones

Anyone taking their car abroad from 28 September will have to display a UK sticker rather than a GB one. The change is rumoured to be a sign of solidarity with Northern Ireland from Westminster in the face of post-Brexit trade tensions. 

The GB sticker has been in use for 111 years, but while it is technically valid for Northern Irish cars taken abroad, that country is not part of the geographical island of Great Britain, a detail that has irked some Northern Irish residents over the years.

But in the face of issues such as the ‘sausage wars’, the UK Government has written to the United Nations to effect the change, stating: “The United Kingdom is changing the distinguishing sign that it had previously selected for display in international traffic on vehicles registered in the United Kingdom, from “GB” to “UK”…this change will take effect on 28 September 2021.”

The switch from GB to UK stickers comes just months after ministers unveiled a new GB number plate with a Union Flag. This replaced the previous ‘Euro’ plate, which showed the stars of the European Union with the letters GB.

But the switch to UK signifiers, while being inclusive of Northern Ireland, means drivers with the new GB plates will have to either change their plates, or affix an additional UK sticker to their cars from September.

Unlike the soon-to-be-invalid GB plates, which were heralded by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in January, the switch to UK signifiers was not formally announced by the Government. Instead it was spotted as a footnote in UN regulations by the AA, which says it has 50,000 items of stock it will now need to change.

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