Green number plates are set to be rolled out from autumn, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed today (Tuesday 16 June), under plans to drive a green economic recovery.
As part of the government’s plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, drivers will be encouraged to make the switch to electric vehicles through the introduction of green number plates. 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.
Transport Secretary 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.’’
This 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.
To further accelerate the government’s plans to drive a green recovery, £12m funding for ground-breaking research into the zero-emission market has also been announced to develop greener vehicles and help improve vehicle charging technology.
The funding, made available through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and delivered through Innovate UK, will see £10million 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 £2million to UK small and medium businesses to support their research into zero-emission vehicles in areas such as battery technology, which could be used by major vehicle manufacturers in future electric vehicle production.
The funding will help these businesses to drive local economic growth through research and development projects in areas including charging infrastructure and zero-emission vehicles, which could in turn strengthen UK industrial expertise and create jobs.
Commenting on the announcement that electric cars will have partially green number plates, Edmund King, AA president, said: “Having a green flash on the number plate may become a badge of honour for some drivers. We support this concept which shows that the EV revolution is now moving from amber to green.
“Alongside, Government financial incentives to ease the purchase of EVs, this move will help councils to also offer wider benefits such as free parking and exemption from low emission zones.
“More than one third (37%) of AA members support this idea to help EVs stand-out from conventional cars.”
Commenting on the announcement of green number plates from Autumn Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low, said: “We’re pleased to see the Government putting electric vehicles at the heart of future transport plans, and as such, welcome the introduction of green number plates that could make it easier for drivers to use bus lanes and park for free. These incentives for electric vehicles come on top of existing benefits such as helping to improve local air quality; running costs from as little as 1p per mile; reduced service maintenance and repair costs; and exemptions from congestion and clean air zone charges. The list of reasons to choose an electric vehicle just keeps getting longer!”
Lauren Pamma, Electrification Propositions Lead in Lloyds Banking Group’s Motor Finance and Leasing Division, said: “It’s encouraging to see that despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus outbreak, sustainability remains high on the agenda for fleets. Our business customers have a relatively strong understanding of the environmental and whole life cost benefits of having EVs on fleet – especially when it comes to tax and national insurance costs – and remain focussed on making the transition where they can.
“For private drivers, the more tangible benefits might be a greater draw – such as access to emissions-restricted zones and better parking spaces, and the cost savings associated with both. Making zero-emission vehicles easier to identify on the roads could help to communicate this message and boost advocacy.
“At the same time, we welcome the announcement of investment into battery and charging technology. When we polled drivers we found that range anxiety and access to charging facilities are two of the main barriers to the adoption of EVs. It’s positive to see these being addressed as a priority, especially since the net zero deadline looms with just four replacement cycles to go.”