18 September 2018

Green number plates could be introduced to identify clean vehicles

Clean cars, vans, and taxis could be equipped with green number plates under new plans to promote awareness of ultra-low emission vehicles.

The special plates, which are already used by countries such as Norway, Canada, and China, could be available on 'green' vehicles like electric and hydrogen cars, and are thought to encourage take-up among drivers.

As well as promoting zero emission vehicles, green number plates could help support local incentives for electric vehicles such as access to bus or low emission vehicle lanes, electric charging bays or ultra-low-emission-zones.

The plans are part of a forthcoming government consultation which will seek views on whether green plates could work in the UK, and if so, what they should look like.

The consultation could pave the way for the addition of the eye-catching plates to UK vehicles in the next few years, according to the Department for Transport.

The announcement came ahead of the UK hosting the world's first Zero Emission Vehicle Summit, which concluded on Wednesday (12 September), where nations from around the world came together to agree to support the development of and acceleration in uptake of 'green' vehicles

At the Summit Prime Minister Theresa May announced £106 million of government investment in projects developing innovative 'green' battery, vehicle and refuelling technology. The cash can be added to a further £500 million of funding from key industries in the sector.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "The UK has a proud history of leading the world in technological advances and that is no different for ultra-low emission vehicles, where we are at the forefront of innovation and testing.

"This new cleaner, greener transport has the potential to bring with it cleaner air, a better environment and stronger economies for countries around the world.

"Adding a green badge of honour to these new clean vehicles is a brilliant way of helping increase awareness of their growing popularity in the UK, and might just encourage people to think about how one could fit into their own travel routine."

Elisabeth Costa, director at the government-backed Behavioural Insights Team, said: "We support efforts to increase awareness of the numbers of clean vehicles on our roads. Simple changes based on behavioural science can have a big impact.

"Green plates would be more noticeable to road users, and this increased attraction can help normalise the idea of 'clean' vehicles, highlighting the changing social norms around vehicle ownership."

The consultation will consider potential designs for the number plates, which could include entirely green on the front, back or both sides of the vehicle, or a green symbol.