Introducing regional flags and symbols on UK driving licences and licence plates after Brexit would face “significant” practical problems, a Transport Minister has warned.
Andrew Jones suggested such a move could cost millions of pounds, adding that it may also cause issues for the DVLA and law enforcement agencies.
Mr Jones did leave the door open to the idea though, saying Ministers were at an early stage of the process in redesigning these items for when Britain has left the European Union.
His comments came in a Westminster Hall debate on the issue, as MPs Scott Mann and Derek Thomas pressed the Government to bring in a wider range of regional symbols on both driving licences and licence plates.
Mr Jones said: “We are at the start of a process.
“I’m not saying either yes or no to what is happening, we are simply at too early a stage in this process.
“I do recognise that there are opportunities.
“I take this debate as the start of our national conversation about what we would like to have on our driving licences and on our number plates.
“I recognise that technology presents opportunities to personalise and to print.
“But I’ve also tried to explain that there are some significant practical implications from a DVLA perspective.
“And from a law enforcement agency perspective, there are cost implications to this as well.”
Mr Jones told MPs the DVLA had previously estimated that introducing an optional Union flag on driving licences would cost the agency as much as £20m.
He said there were potential road safety and security risks around how a UK driving licence would be viewed by foreign law enforcement agencies.
As well as the EU flag, the law allows the Union flag, the Cross of St George, the Scottish Saltire or the Red Dragon of Wales to appear on licence plates.
‘Yorkshire rose could adorn licence’
An MP has suggested that the Yorkshire white rose and other important regional symbols should appear on driving licences.
During a Westminster Hall debate on the issue, Conservative MP Scott Mann (North Cornwall) said: “I’m a very patriotic Cornishman.
“And it would give me great delight to see the Saint Piran’s Cross appear on my driving licence.”
As well as the distinctive black and white Cornish flag, Mr Mann also suggested that other regional symbols such as the Yorkshire white rose or the Invicta flag of Kent could be introduced to appear on licences.