The Controversy of Plate NIG 31

NIG 31

NIG is a Northern Ireland number plate prefix, however plates with this prefix were never issued as they could be associated with a racist term. The PIG prefix was also disallowed. So it was rather interesting when the plate NIG 31 turned up in a DVLA sale catalogue! Set to be sold at an auction of private registration plates at an Oxford hotel in May this year. It may have been the perfect plate for anyone called Nigel, but as all NIG plates had been banned, people were not happy to see this one in the auction.

The DVLA are usually pretty hot on weeding out potentially offensive plates. Homophobic or racist plates are not allowed, neither are plates with a religious, sexual or drug-related theme. Every six months the DVLA issue a list of the latest banned plates. Some are obviously offensive, but the list can raise a smile for those with a slightly puerile sense of humour. Over the years banned plates have included P15 OFF, BO11 OOX and UP15 BUM. H8 GAY was also disallowed after complaints from gay rights charity Stonewall. You’ll never be able to buy a plate with the letters SEX or NOB, they’ve all been banned, however, there’s still scope for plenty of fabulous private plates with a more positive message!

When NIG 31 was spotted for sale, the member of the Cherished Numbers Guild queried how and why this plate had got through to auction, suggesting that the DVLA were simply trying to cash in on this potentially valuable plate. After further deliberation, the DVLA decided to withdraw the NIG 31 plate from sale earlier this week. NIG was banned for a reason, and really shouldn’t be in the sale.

The plate N1 GEL had previously been sold in 1996 and raised £60,000 and it’s thought the sale this time around would have raised in the region of £25,000.