Government considering introducing green number plates

The government has launched a consultation on introducing green number plates for zero emission cars, to raise awareness of the increasing number of zero emission vehicles on UK roads.

The announcement will also help drivers to benefit more easily from local incentives like free or cheaper parking and encourage greater uptake of new vehicle technology. The consultation is part of the £1.5 billion Road to Zero Strategy, which aims to make the UK the best place in the world to own an electric vehicle.

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 with drivers of electric vehicles given free access to toll lanes and high occupancy vehicle lanes, with the Canadian region seeing an increase in electric vehicle registrations.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “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. 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.”

David Renard, Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: “The introduction of green number plates could be a helpful tool for councils looking to encourage use of zero emission vehicles, which they can tailor and adapt according to their local area. Councils have already introduced several measures to reduce emissions and improve air quality, such as encouraging the use of electric vehicles with recharging points, promoting cycling, investing in cleaner buses, managing borough-wide air pollution monitoring networks, and pioneering the concept of low-emission zones.

“However the electric car charging point market will need to strengthen if the transition to electric vehicles is going to be successful. Councils cannot do this alone but we are keen to work with the government and the private sector to make this happen. To make the climate change agenda work, everybody has a role to play.”