A short history of high conspicuity livery for emergency service vehicles

Estimated read time 2 min read

Before 1998, there were no requirements for police vehicles to have specific markings when travelling on the motorway. But following a request from The National Motorway Policing sub-committee and the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Home Office agreed that all police vehicles should have markings which make the vehicles easily recognisable from a distance. Following the agreement, a conspicuity livery was commissioned.

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The safety of patrons, the police and highway workers is paramount and due to the nature of the work carried out on the roads, it was essential the livery design was high conspicuity. Working alongside vehicles travelling at high speed all together, it was essential to be able to identify a police vehicle from a distance.

In order to make the police vehicles stand out from other safety vehicles on the roads, the recognisable yellow and blue patchwork design was introduced and became known as the ‘Battenburg’ design, due to its similarities with the cake.

Following the introduction of the Battenburg design, other vehicles working for the UK emergency services also adopted the markings, including the ambulance service, fire service, mountain rescue, HM Coastguard and the national blood service. Organisations looking for Chapter 8 chevrons for their vehicles can get expert advice and tailor made chevron kits for their fleet from companies such as https://www.vehiclechevrons.com/.

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Non Emergency Vehicles

At this time of year, when many people take to the roads for the festive season, emergency vehicles are on full alert, and with the weather causing problems up and down the country, they are set for a busy few weeks.

Other liveries were subsequently designed for the non emergency vehicles which help the Highways Agency and support the police during any road traffic incidents. Vehicles such as those used by Traffic Officers and Incident Support staff now also have conspicuous liveries, ensuring they are easily seen and recognisable to the public.

The Battenburg design is still in use today and has been so successful, that it has been adopted by other countries including USA, Sweden, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

For those responsible for the safety and upkeep of the roads and highways, these safety measures are vital and save lives. Drivers should always drive appropriately for the conditions and ensure they leave enough space between themselves and the vehicle in front.


The writer of this article currently manages his own blog moment for life and spread happiness and is managing to do well by mixing online marketing and traditional marketing practices into one.

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