The he bee GBs
The historic end of the GB sticker
The historic GB sticker is no longer valid.
After adorning the rear of British motor vehicles when abroad for over a century, the Government has replaced it with the UK marking instead.
Where are you from?
Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced the change in January on the first anniversary of Brexit. This week it became an official requirement with the GB sticker no longer recognised, the first time in 111 years.
At the time, Mr Shapps tweeted: ‘Brits will be able to drive on the Continent without GB stickers thanks to new reg plate with Union Flag and GB.’
Drivers could face now face penalties for not complying with the new rules.
According to Government guidelines, driving outside the UK now requires a UK sticker to be clearly displayed on the rear of their vehicle. A number plate which has any of the following: a GB identifier with the Union flag, a Euro symbol, a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales, will also not be acceptable on foreign shores.
The guidelines state: ‘If you are in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, you must display a UK sticker no matter what is on your number plate.
‘You do not need a UK sticker or number plate to drive in Ireland.’
The new stickers are available online, and in post offices and garages for roughly £1.50 ($2) to £4.
United we drive
The United Nations had said in July that it had received a request from the UK government – “A notification stating that 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’”.
No official reasons was given. However, the RAC said “the move is thought to be a show of solidarity with Northern Ireland in the wake of Brexit” and amid heightened tensions over post-Brexit border checks.
Fine for you
Any fine for not complying with the new rules will depend on specific countries. Halfords did warn earlier this year not displaying the correct ‘UK’ badge “may lead to refusal on entry and holidays ruined.”
Earlier Edmund King, the president of the AA had said: “from a historic perspective… we are now losing another element of British motoring, the famed GB sticker”.
The AA also said it has some around 50,000 GB stickers that are now worthless.
Those who invested in personalised number plates with the GB sign will also need to update their designs or display a sticker if they plan to use drive abroad.
Earlier this year transport secretary Grant Shapps committed to a redesign to replace the EU’s stars with a Union Jack on ‘GB’ number plates following Brexit.
The EU flag has also been removed from the top left corner of driving licenses and replaced by ‘UK’.