Green number plates introduced on UK roads

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Green number plates will be seen on UK roads for the first time this week as the country prepares to accelerate the transition to EVs as part of the government’s commitment to reach net-zero by 2050.

Transport minister Rachel Maclean said the move builds on last month’s announcement to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the UK by 2030, putting the UK on course to be the fastest G7 country to decarbonise these vehicles.

The introduction of the new plates on UK roads is designed to raise awareness of the growing number of zero-emission vehicles, as well as helping motorists benefit from local initiatives such as cheaper parking and cost-free entry into zero-emission zones.

Maclean said: “Not only will green number plates raise awareness of the increasing number of cleaner vehicles on our roads, they could also unlock a number of incentives for drivers. It’s clear there has never been a better time to make the switch to a zero-emission vehicle.”

The new number plates can be retrofitted to any existing vehicles, including cars, vans, buses, HGVs, taxis and motorcycles as long as they emit no CO2 emissions at the tailpipe. They will consist of a green flash on the left-hand side of the plate and can be combined with the Union flag and national identifiers already permitted by regulations.

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.

The introduction follows the first-ever meeting of ministers from the world’s largest car markets last month, to form a new Zero Emission Vehicle Transition Council. Hosted by the UK’s business secretary and the transport secretary, the council aims to help accelerate the pace of the global transition, with further council meetings to take place in 2021, including at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in the UK.

To align with the government’s net-zero ambitions, last month the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, which is responsible for overseeing the transition to zero-emission cars and vans, was renamed to the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles.

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