Today marks the arrival of green number plates in the UK.
Owners of new and used zero emission vehicles are now able to showcase their green credentials with a set of special plates, identifiable by a green vertical flash on the left-hand side of both the conventional white (front) and yellow (rear) plates.
The green number plate scheme was originally announced in June by the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, as a way of further raising the profile of zero emission vehicles, which continue to grow in popularity. According to the latest SMMT registration data*, nearly one in 10 cars registered in the UK in 2020 has been either fully electric or plug-in hybrid.
With more than 164,000 fully electric cars already registered on UK roads, it’s clear that a visual upgrade like this will be immediately noticeable in our streets and on our commutes.
Another reason for the implementation is because the Government has confirmed plans for local authorities to design and implement new policies that will incentivise zero emission vehicles. We’ve already seen fully electric cars paying a nominal annual fee to benefit from free access to the London Congestion Zone, but other privileges could include cheaper or priority parking as well as free entry into the emerging Clean Air or Zero Emission Zones. A similar scheme in Ontario, Canada, granted EVs free access to toll lanes and car-pool lanes, which directly led to an increase in sales of electric vehicles.
Of course, not all owners may wish their vehicles to wear green badges of honour, which is why the British Number Plate Manufacturers Association (BNPMA) insists the plates are not mandatory. Nor will the fitting of said plates in itself grant any special privileges provided by local authorities.
Poppy Welch, Heady of Go Ultra Low, commented: “The introduction of green number plates will give consumers another signal that EVs are continuing to grow in popularity and capability which, we hope, will give them the confidence to explore the technology and make the switch. The introduction of incentives provided by local authorities will also help demonstrate that EVs aren’t just good for the environment; they can provide significant savings and convenience, too.”
In recent years, we’ve seen how labelling on everything from food to washing machines has provided enormous potential for influencing consumer behavior and tackling environmental challenges, as it helps translate and simplify the larger issues at hand. The more we can demonstrate both the environmental and economic benefits of electric vehicles, the more we can highlight how making the switch is a natural next step.