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Green Number Plates for the UK?

Green registration plates are already clearly visible on the roads in other countries like Norway and Canada, they’re fitted to clean electric and hydrogen vehicles. Environmentally friendly low emission cars, vans and taxis in the UK could also soon be fixing the ‘green number plate’ after the government launched a public consultation on the idea. Electric and hybrid vehicles made up 5.5% of the UK’s new car market in the first six months of 2018, compared with 4.2% during the same period in 2017.

Green registration platesThe DfT (Department for Transport) have stated that the consultation will “seek views on whether green plates could work in the UK, and if so, what they should look like”, with the “eye-catching” plates potentially arriving in “the next few years”. Some of the plans being considered by ministers could see drivers of new and used cars on green plates having privileges like using bus lanes if their vehicles conform to the environmental standards set. As well as sending an encouraging message out to other road users, qualifying drivers could also get free or discounted access to current or future low-emission zones.

Just recently, two of London councils announced plans to ban all but the cleanest vehicles from some of their roads at peak times to help improve air-pollution in the area. These councils propose to only allow low emission vehicles on some of the streets within Hackney and Islington during these time periods.

Chris Grayling (Transport Secretary) commented that green number plates would be a “badge of honour” for clean vehicles and hoped they would “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.”

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Elisabeth Costa, director of the Behavioural Insights Team said: “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.”

Like with everything, there are also pros and cons to the scheme. It could be good news for the motor trade and UK business as the green number plate could help increase the sales of electric cars. However, green vehicles don’t necessarily mean cheaper motoring, as there could be an increase to your insurance policy due to high cost of vehicle parts in the event of an accident and given that repairs to some of these cars can only be carried out by specialist mechanic, as well as electric car batteries being quite expensive to replace.

Ultimately, if you are looking to replace or upgrade your vehicle any time soon it could be prudent to include electric and/or hydrogen vehicles in your potential wants and needs.


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