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Green plates to incentivise zero-emissions car uptake

Would bus lane use and cheaper parking encourage you to buy a zero-emissions car? The Government hopes so…

Tom Harrison
Content writer
minute read
posted 31 OCTOBER 2019

Green number plates may soon be issued to drivers of the UK’s cleanest vehicles, helping them take advantage of unique privileges on the roads.

The concept – already trialled in Canada – is being considered by the Department for Transport (DfT) as a way of “turbo-charging the zero-emission revolution.”

Drivers with green plates could benefit from proposals such as reduced parking fees and permission to drive in bus lanes, as part of the Government’s wider £1.5 billion strategy to clean up road transport.

Easily identified

The DfT has launched a consultation on the special licence plates, which would make vehicles conforming to the highest environmental standards more easily identifiable to local authorities.

It hopes more people will be incentivised to consider investing in a zero-emissions vehicle when they see the benefits in practice.

In Ontario, where green plates have already been trialled, there has been an increase in electric vehicle registrations after drivers were awarded free access to toll lanes and high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

A growing market share

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps 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.”

Potential plate designs being considered 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

Two hundred thousand electric cars were registered in the last quarter of 2018. The number is predicted to rise to between 2.7 and 10.6 million in 2030, and as high as 36 million in 2040.

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