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Driving Licences to bear Union Flag

The DVSA has announced that driving licences issued in England, Scotland and Wales will bear the Union flag. What does this mean for you?

New look driving licences

The new look driving licence will mean nothing to current licence holders, but those passing the theory test and DVSA practical exam from now on will receive a licence showing the Union flag. Anyone submitting a licence for alterations will also receive the new look design.

Book Theory Test Today says: “Conspiracy theorists reckon that the new look driving licences indicate that Britain is leaving the European Union, but this is not the case.”

The EU flag will still be on UK driving licences, but there’s a reason why the DVSA has done this explains Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, Britain’s Transport Minister. He said: “The Union flag is recognised globally and is an icon that the British people take pride in. I’m delighted to see it featured on driving licences.”

He added: “We’re bringing the country together; by adding the national flag to British driving licences we’re celebrating Britain being one nation.”

EU directive

As a condition of an EU directive introduced in 2006, EU member states had to issue driving licences featuring the EU flag. UK licences have carried the EU flag since they first appeared in 1998.

Over 132 million photocard driving licences have been issued since they were introduced. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) issued over 10.4 million in 2014.

Commenting on the new look driving licences, the DVSA said: “Costs for altering the UK driving licence have been kept to a minimum and all existing driving licences will not be affected by the changes.”

Wales and Scotland

However, the introduction of the Union Jack on the new look driving licences has not pleased all motorists. Neither the Scottish Saltire nor the Welsh Dragon are accepted. Furthermore, the changes will not be applicable to motorists in Northern Ireland.

Book Theory Test Today says: “All this exclusion seems to have the opposite effect if the DVSA is trying to ‘bring the country together.’ There will be a lot of motorists thinking that it’s not actually very inclusive.”

More than two years ago, David Cameron did announce that he wanted to see the UK flag on British driving licences. However, the final process was postponed until after the referendum on Scottish independence.

Ministers believe that the driving licence is, on par with the passport, the single most widely used identity document in the UK and think that it’s abnormal for driving licences to be dominated by the EU flag.

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