Government plans green number plates for zero emission cars

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GOVERNMENT has announced the launch of a consultation on introducing green number plates for zero emission cars to raise awareness on their increasing number on UK roads.

The initiative aims to help zero emission drivers to benefit more easily from local incentives like free or cheaper parking and encourage greater uptake of new vehicle technology.

“The UK is in the driving seat of global efforts to tackle vehicle emissions and climate change and improve air quality, but we want to accelerate our progress”, Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said.

“Green number plates are a really positive and exciting way to help everyone recognise the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads. By increasing awareness of these vehicles and the benefits they bring to their drivers and our environment, we will turbo-charge the zero emission revolution.”

The announcement marks another milestone for the government’s Road to Zero Strategy, a £1.5 billion support package which aims to make the UK the best place in the world to own an electric vehicle.

“The number of clean vehicles on our roads is increasing but we don’t notice as it’s difficult to tell clean vehicles apart from more polluting ones”, Elisabeth Costa, Senior Director at the Behavioural Insights Team, commented.

“Green number plates make these vehicles, and our decision to drive in a more environmentally-friendly way, more visible on roads. We think making the changing social norm noticeable will help encourage more of us to swap our cars for cleaner options.”

Potential plate designs include:

  • a fully green number plate with black lettering
  • the addition of a green flash on the plate
  • the addition of a green dot or symbol

Since the strategy’s publication, UK has seen record number of zero emission vehicles registered.

Through the introduction of green number plates, local authorities would have a useful visual identifier should they wish to introduce incentives to promote the use of zero emission vehicles, such as allowing these drivers to use bus lanes and to pay less for parking.

A similar scheme was trialled in Ontario, Canada where drivers of electric vehicles were given free access to toll lanes and high occupancy vehicle lanes. Following this Ontario saw an increase in electric vehicle registrations.

The consultation closes on 14 January 2020.