From 1 October 2014, the old paper tax disc or Vehicle Excise Duty, ‘VED’, will be discontinued and DVLA will use a number plate recognition system to catch vehicles being operated without VED.

These changes are likely to affect Dealers who will no longer be able to purchase and use vehicles with VED still remaining. After 1 October 2014 VED will not transfer when a vehicle is sold. Dealers need to consider and may be required to prepare for these changes to ensure they have a sufficient number of trade plates to continue to operate.

If you need additional licenses then complete the application form.

Users of trade plates still need to apply and pay for a new trade licence, but from October 2014 there will no longer be a paper trade licence to display with the trade plate, however the rules for trade plates will not change.

Trade Plate Rules

Trade plates must be used only for the particular business purposes for which they were issued. These include:

  • to test or trial a vehicle, its accessories or equipment during or immediately after its construction, modification or repair
  • for a return journey to public weighbridge or for registration or inspection by an authorised official
  • to undertake a test trial for the benefit of a prospective purchaser or the press
  • to demonstrate the operation of a vehicle, its accessories or equipment, when being handed over to a purchaser and delivering it to the place where they intend to keep it.
  • for moving vehicles:
    • for valeting or accessory fitting between traders’ premises.
    • to a workshop where special equipment or accessories are fitted.
    • between traders’ premises and a place where it starts or finishes a journey.
    • between traders’ premises and auctions or other places of sale.
    • to go to and from places of test or inspection and for going to a place for breaking and dismantling.

A motor trader may use trade plates on mechanically propelled vehicles only if they are temporarily in their possession in the course of their business.

A vehicle tester may use the trade licence only on vehicles submitted to them for testing (including the vehicles trailer, its accessories or equipment).

It is an offence to:

  • use more than one vehicle under a trade licence at any one time
  • keep a vehicle on a road when not in use except in certain emergency situations
  • use a vehicle without displaying a current trade plate and both plates as specified
  • display anything on a vehicle that could be mistaken for a trade plate or licence
  • display trade plates or licence other than those issued by DVLA
  • display trade plates if the trade licence has expired
  • display trade plates if you become ineligible to be a trade plate holder
  • use the vehicle for any purpose other than those specified in the regulation
  • use a vehicle for the general conveyance of goods or burden. Exceptions to this include
    • non returnable loads
    • collection and delivery of parts, accessories or equipment carried for the purpose of being fitted to the vehicle
    • use a vehicle, which is permanently in the possession of the trade licensee unless they are a manufacturer and the vehicle is one kept solely for research and development.

Penalties for misusing Trade Plates

There is a maximum fine of £5,000 and a possible prison term not exceeding two years for fraudulently altering or using trade plates.