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Green number plates get the green light

DfT to make £12m investment in zero-emission vehicle research

Mark Moran
16 June 2020
How the new `green` number plates will look
How the new `green` number plates will look


Green number plates are to be rolled out from autumn, Transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed. Drivers will be encouraged to make the switch to electric vehicles through the introduction of green number plates.

The Department for Transport (DfT) believes the plates will make it easier for cars to be identified as zero emission vehicles, helping local authorities design and put in place new policies to incentivise people to own and drive them.

For example, drivers could benefit from local initiatives such as cheaper parking and cost-free entry into zero-emission zones where those with a green number plate will be recognised as eligible.

The plates will be identifiable by a green flash on the left-hand side and will be available for zero emission vehicles only.

The move follows the conclusion of a consultation inviting comments from the public, local authorities and industry stakeholders from a range of sectors including motoring and consumer groups and vehicle manufacturers on how best to introduce green number plates.

A switch from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric driving is a key plank of the government’s plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Grant Shapps said: “A green recovery is key to helping us achieve our net zero carbon commitments while also promoting economic growth. Green number plates could unlock a number of incentives for drivers and increase awareness of cleaner vehicles on our roads, showing people that a greener transport future is within our grasp.

“We’re supporting small businesses to develop the transport tech of the future through a multi-million pound investment, ensuring that UK businesses remain at the forefront of low carbon innovation and research.’’

The government is to make £12m available for research into the zero-emission market, with the aim of developing greener vehicles and help improve vehicle charging technology.

The DfT hopes that small and medium sized (SME) businesses will drive local economic growth through R&D projects in areas including charging infrastructure and zero-emission vehicles.

The funding, made available through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and delivered through Innovate UK, will see £10m for a new Zero Emission Vehicle Innovation Competition. This will invite applicants to bid for project funding to support advancements in both battery electric and hydrogen vehicles, as well as charging infrastructure.

OLEV is also providing £2m to SME businesses to support research into zero-emission vehicles in areas such as battery technology, which could be used by major vehicle manufacturers in future EV production.

The DfT hopes that the funding will help these SME businesses drive local economic growth through research and development projects in areas, including charging infrastructure and zero-emission vehicles, which could in turn create over 6,000 skilled jobs.

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