11th September 2018

Low-emission cars could get green number plates

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Cars, vans and taxis with ultra-low emissions could be fitted with green number plates under new plans to encourage take-up among drivers.

Countries including Canada, Norway and China are already using the special plates to raise awareness of green vehicles such as electric and hydrogen cars.

In the UK, it is hoped that the eye-catching plates could help to support access to bus or low-emission vehicle lanes, electric charging bays and other local incentives for electric vehicles (EV).

The promotion of the zero-emission vehicles forms part of a new government consultation which will seek views on whether green plates could be beneficial and, if so, options for their appearance.

It will consider potential designs for the plates, which could be entirely green on the front, back or both sides of the vehicle, or a be highlighted by a green symbol.

The consultation comes ahead of the UK hosting the world’s first Zero Emission Vehicle Summit this week, where nations from around the world will unite to agree to support the development of and acceleration in the uptake of green vehicles.

The work 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, improve travel safety and accessibility, and present economic opportunities for the UK.

Chris Grayling, transport secretary, 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 summit will be held in Birmingham and Buckinghamshire on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, bringing together nations to pledge collective action towards zero-emission journeys and showcase how the UK is one of the best places in the world for zero-emission innovation.