Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC)



See https://www.fbhvc.co.uk/news for all FBHVC news


DVLA Information


DVLA Changes to Laws on Number Plates with Black Background and Silver or White Characters

The DVLA have requested that the FBHVC share their announcement about important changes, being introduced 01 January 2021, which affect the ability of vehicles registered in the Historic tax class to display the old style pre-1973 number plates with black background and silver or white characters.

Following the change in definition of a Historic Vehicle for vehicle tax exemption purposes in 2015, an issue was identified in the regulatory requirements for the valid display of number plates with black background and silver or white characters. This resulted in an unintended consequence where any vehicle over 40 years old and registered in the Historic Tax Class would be permitted to display old style number plates with black background and silver or white characters. This was despite the law previously requiring all vehicles first registered after 01 January 1973 to only display the yellow and white number plates with black characters.

As this was never the intention, DVLA have sought to rectify this through a legal correction, which will shortly be implemented. The change seeks to prevent any vehicle constructed after 01 January 1980 from the ability to display the number plates with black background and silver or white characters despite being recorded in the DVLA’s Historic tax class. Those vehicles with a construction date prior to 1 January 1980 will continue to be able to legally display number plates with black background and silver or white characters to avoid any undue costs of replacement.

Also note that from 01 January 2021 it will no longer be permissible to fix a new number plate displaying a Euro symbol. Number plates already fixed to vehicles are unaffected. DVLA will also be introducing a new British Standard for number plates produced from 01 September 2021, which will mean all current style number plates that are first fixed to a vehicle from that date must meet the technical requirements contained in that standard.


Position Statement


FBHVC position on Government ban on sale of new cars with internal combustion engines from 2030

The UK Government has revealed plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 followed by the same sanctions being placed on all hybrid vehicles five years later in 2035.
The move is part of the UK Government’s £12 billion strategy for stimulating green industry and quite naturally has caused huge concern within the motor industry.
The UK Government has promised a £1.3 billion investment in establishing a charging infrastructure across the country to service the demands of the new electric vehicles. 
The move suggests that Government policy will still support the use of private vehicles as a mode of daily transport, but not when they are required to be powered by fossil fuels.

The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) must consider the implications of this policy on the historic vehicle movement from the point of view of our need to focus solely on protecting the freedoms to use heritage transport on the UK’s roads, unhindered. The Federation is not concerning itself with debating the 'for and against' arguments around certain technologies and power sources for new vehicles used purely for commuting and functional transportation purposes. 

Indeed, it may well be that in a couple of decade’s time, the early Nissan Leaf and Tesla models for example will be joining the ranks of historically important vehicles and be referred to as 'classic cars'.

The Federation recognises there are already a significant number of electric vehicles represented within the historic vehicle community and some examples of these were displayed on the 'Village Green' area of the NEC Classic Motor Show in 2019 on the FBHVC stand. The exhibits included a 1912 Baker Electric Car, a 1974 Zagato Zele and a 1940 Moteur Électrique created by the French manufacturer Lucien Rosengart as a direct replacement for the Austin 7 engine he used in the cars built under license in Paris. In the early part of the twentieth century electric vehicles made up a larger proportion of the total vehicles on the road than they do today. In 1900, 20 per cent of cars on the roads in the USA were electric and iconic manufacturers such as Studebaker actually entered the market initially building electric vehicles. 
So, we must recognise that electric vehicles have been as much a part of the history and heritage of road transport as they are its future.

The main focus points of the Federation’s activities in light of the announcement of the intended 2030 ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles will be limited to:

a)    Ensuring the ban on new vehicles does not extend to restrictions on the use of pre-existing vehicles powered by fossil fuels. In particular, historic vehicles over 30 years old and 'future historic vehicles' yet to reach the rolling 30-year classification of historic;
b)    Monitoring the effects of changing mainstream consumer demand for petrol and diesel on the accessibility and affordability of fuel supplies for vehicles requiring fossil fuels;
c)    Lobbying for the protection of fossil fuel supplies long into the future to service historic vehicles. 

The Federation urges caution amongst the historic vehicle community not to 'panic' that historic vehicles are in some way about to be made obsolete or unusable as a result of the announcement of these intended UK Government bans. As the 2020 National Historic Vehicle Survey has revealed, there are more than 1.5 million historic vehicles registered in the UK and therefore they represent a material element of our National Heritage. Additionally, the historic vehicle sector contributes a huge £7.2 billion to the UK economy through highly skilled jobs that will be a vital part of the regeneration of the UK’s economy post-pandemic and post-Brexit. 

Despite that huge financial input into the health of our country, the National Historic Vehicle Survey also shows us that the use of historic vehicles only contributes to 0.2% of the total annual miles driven in the UK. That amount of road use is very small in the overall aim to reduce carbon emissions to levels safe for the health and future of the planet. Nonetheless, the Federation recently appointed an Environmental Director on our board, tasked specifically with monitoring, offsetting and measuring the carbon output of the historic vehicle movement. 

The strength in numbers that the historic vehicle community enjoys will help to ensure that we cannot be ignored or hindered without significant financial implications for the country. If we work together as a sector to encourage continued health, growth and skills for the future then the movement stands every chance of survival and the future of historic vehicles powered by internal combustion engines will be secured, regardless of what technology has in store for the future of road transport. 

To read the facts behind why the Historic Vehicle community is part of the answer to build the UK economy into the future and why the sector deserves a bright future, you can read the National Historic Vehicle Survey results from 2020 online now at https://www.fbhvc.co.uk 


Press Release

17 Nov 2020

National Historic Vehicle Survey reveals significant contribution to UK economy

  • Number of historic vehicles on DVLA database has increased yet again to 1.5 million
  • The historic movement now worth over £7.2 billion to UK economy
  • 4,000 businesses employing over 34,000 people
  • 700,000 enthusiasts – up from 500,000 in 2016
  • Overall, historic vehicles account for less than 0.2% of the total miles driven in the UK
  • 35% of owners either already or are willing to contribute to a carbon reduction scheme
  • 56% of historic vehicles are on SORN

The results of the 2020 National Historic Vehicle Survey have been announced by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs. The summary results were revealed during the Virtual Lancaster Classic Motor Show with Discovery, filmed at the NEC this month.

Historically, the Federation has undertaken this major survey every 5 years, the most recent being the 2016. However, in light of the very obvious impact that worldwide pandemic has had on the UK and is likely to have on historic vehicle habits, the survey was conducted earlier to represent a more typical year in 2019.

The survey is the largest and most detailed survey of historic vehicle ownership carried out in any country. The results will help shape the future of the industry and will give the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs the vital facts and figures needed to protect future of transport heritage in the United Kingdom at the very highest levels.

More vehicles, contributing more to the UK economy

Growth in the sector is the result of an increased number of historic vehicles registered with the DVLA, over the 2016 figures, to an incredible 1.5 million vehicles of all types from cars, buses and lorries to motorcycles, agricultural, military and steam vehicles. This represents 3.4% of all registered vehicles in the UK. Naturally, more vehicles mean more owners, 700,000 in fact, up by 200k on the previous survey in 2016.

The use of those historic vehicles and their need for services and supplies has kept spending healthy, with the historic vehicle sector now contributing an impressive £7.2 billion to the UK economy – that’s more than the equestrian sector and significantly up on the £5.5 billion in 2016.

This revenue is generated from the nearly 4,000 businesses that support the movement employing over 34,000 people. Those businesses are working on ensuring the future of the movement as well, with over a third either employing or considering employing an apprentice.

The value of individual vehicles is widely spread, with 51% having a market value of less than £10,000 demonstrating a community of diversity and inclusiveness driven by enthusiasm. 44% are registered as on the road and ready for use.

The survey revealed that increasingly, historic vehicles are not used for daily transport. Indeed, the average mileage covered during the course of a year is just 1,200 miles, which equates to all the historic vehicles on the road accounting for less than 0.2% of the total miles driven on UK roads each year. Despite that tiny mileage for recreational and heritage uses, enthusiasts are clearly becoming more aware of the environmental impact of their activities, with 35% of owners saying they already contribute to, or would consider contributing to, a carbon reduction scheme. The Federation is actively researching options to identity tangible solutions for enthusiasts.

So, the headlines are positive and it’s good news for the future of the historic vehicle community that, despite concerns and uncertainty around Brexit, the movement has continued to grow, develop and contribute a significant sum annually to the economy of the United Kingdom.

David Whale, Chairman of the FBHVC said, "The significant value to the United Kingdom that the historic vehicle industry generates simply cannot be ignored by those in power. We face the most challenging times ahead over the next few years and these results give us the justification to ensure that our freedoms to enjoy our transport heritage continue unhindered. As a sector we cannot be ignored and will be instrumental in the recovery of our nation’s economy post-Brexit and post-COVID. The most heart-warming news was that there are more enthusiasts than ever who are immersing themselves in our community and that is really positive for the future."

The FBHVC will be releasing a more detailed report in mid- December 2020. Statistics are from the 2020 National Historic Vehicle Survey, carried out by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs during Summer and Autumn 2020. Other figures are from DVLA published statistics. JDA Research has been the FBHVC’s research partner for the 2020 Survey. JDA Research also undertook the Federation’s 2016 survey and is completing a worldwide survey on behalf of FIVA.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Wayne Scott – Classic Heritage PR & Media on behalf of the FBHVC

Email: wayne@classicheritagepr.co.uk Tel: 07759 260899


About the FBHVC:

The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) exists to uphold the freedom to use historic vehicles on the road.
It does this by representing the interests of owners of such vehicles to politicians, government officials, and legislators both in the UK and (through the Federation Internationale des Vehicules Anciens) in Europe.
There are over 540 subscriber organisations representing a total membership of over 250,000 in addition to individual and trade supporters. All our directors operate in a voluntary capacity supported by our secretary.


Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs Ltd, PO Box 295, Upminster, Essex, RM14 9DG

Tel: 01708 223111   E-mail: secretary@fbhvc.co.uk    Web: www.fbhvc.co.uk

Registered Office: The Barn, Holly Berry House, Hamstall Ridware, Rugeley, Staffordshire, WS15 3SQ Registered in England No 3842316

VAT Reg No. 636 788683