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Zero emissions vehicles could get green number plates

Patrick McDonnell
11 September 2018
The DfT is consulting on whether green plates could work in the UK and, if so, what they should look like
The DfT is consulting on whether green plates could work in the UK and, if so, what they should look like


Zero emission cars, vans and taxis could be issued with green number plates to promote clean engine technology, the Department for Transport has suggested.

The special plates, which are already used by countries like Norway, Canada and China, would be available for green vehicles like electric and hydrogen cars.

As well as promoting zero emission vehicles, the DfT says 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.

A government consultation seeks 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.

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 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 plates, which could include entirely green on the front, back or both sides of the vehicle, or a green symbol.”

The consultation was launched to coincide the international Zero Emission Vehicle Summit, which takes place in Birmingham and Buckinghamshire on 11-12 September. 

Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the UK would host the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit earlier this year. The summit brings together nations from across the globe to pledge collective action towards zero emission journeys and seeks to showcase UK zero-emission innovation.

The summit is all part of the government’s Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, outlined in its modern Industrial Strategy, aiming to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make travel safer, improve accessibility, and present enormous economic opportunities for the UK.

The Zero Emission Vehicle Summit follows the Road to Zero Strategy, which was published earlier this summer and outlines the government’s ambition to lead the world in the development and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles.

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