Fact Check: UK Law Does NOT Specifically Say People Can Be Fined For Flying Flag Of England On Their Vehicles -- It Potentially Applies To All Flags

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: UK Law Does NOT Specifically Say People Can Be Fined For Flying Flag Of England On Their Vehicles -- It Potentially Applies To All Flags Safety First

Under U.K. law, can people be fined £1,000 specifically for flying the flag of England, also known as St. George's Cross, on a vehicle? No, that's not true: The law only imposes fines for flags that violate specific regulations regarding size, location or how they are mounted. There is no law prohibiting the act of flying the English flag itself.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on X, formerly Twitter, by activist Tommy Robinson on June 13, 2024, under the on-screen title "Drivers warned of £1,000 fine for flying England flags ahead of the Euros despite being a 'source of pride.'" The post's caption said:

Every tournament the same.

Yet fly 'Palestine' flags all over without consequence.

F*ck their threats, fly your flags 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:


(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Jun 13 16:15:33 2024 UTC)

The post

The post provided no attribution or other evidence to substantiate its claim.

Lead Stories found the headline featured in the social media post -- "Drivers warned of £1,000 fine for flying England flags ahead of the Euros despite being a 'source of pride'" -- in a story (archived here) published on the GB News website on June 11, 2024. The social media post doesn't link to the story.

This how the article opens:

Drivers are being warned of showing their patriotism this year for the European Championships or they could be hit with a £1,000 fine.

Football fans have long been anticipating the Euros, with the wait almost being over as hosts Germany take on Scotland in Munich on Friday, June 14.

While the story's headline and opening paragraph claim that drivers "are being warned," there is nothing to support that assertion in the body of the article. A quote from an unnamed government spokesperson in the story includes no warnings for readers:

'There is no specific law against flying a flag from your vehicle.

'We would simply encourage motorists to use their common sense to ensure their vision of the road isn't impaired, and that it doesn't jeopardise the safety of other road users.

'We shouldn't hide our national flags which are a source of pride and identity.

'We anticipate that streets, cars and houses will be decorated with England flags during the Euros football tournament this summer.'

The European Championship, or the Euros, is a major international soccer (football) competition organized by the Union of European Football Associations, featuring national teams from across Europe. The tournament is held every four years and determines the continental champion.

Highway Code

U.K. law includes regulations about anything that may obstruct a driver's vision or view. Under Regulation 30, the Highway Code lays out these general requirements:

(1) Every motor vehicle shall be so designed and constructed that the driver thereof while controlling the vehicle can at all times have a full view of the road and traffic ahead of the motor vehicle.

(2) Instead of complying with the requirement of paragraph (1) a vehicle may comply with Community Directive 77/649, 81/643 or, in the case of an agricultural motor vehicle, 79/1073.

(3) All glass or other transparent material fitted to a motor vehicle shall be maintained in such condition that it does not obscure the vision of the driver while the vehicle is being driven on a road.

More particularly, U.K. law says this about flags on vehicles:

It is not a specific offence to fly a flag on a vehicle and the majority of vehicle flags currently on sale are legal, provided they are fitted to the vehicle in a sensible manner. However, it is worth noting the following points:

  • flags which are so large that they obscure the driver's view of traffic ahead of the vehicle may contravene Regulation 30 of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986
  • flags which are constructed or positioned in such a way that they can cause danger to pedestrians or other road users could contravene Regulations 53 or 100 of the above regulations

Read more

At the time this Lead Stories fact check was written, PA Media had reviewed the same claim.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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