On 22nd October 2019, the UK government began a 12-week public consultation on the introduction of green number plates for zero emission vehicles. A total of 1200 responses were received from individuals and organisations made up of vehicle manufacturers and motoring consumer groups. The points raised in these responses have now been collated in order to produce the final government decision on how to proceed.
There are multiple reasons why green number plates are being considered. Firstly, many new government policies and incentives will rely on the ability to easily recognise a low emission vehicle. For example, some city centre parking will be reserved for electric vehicles, many cities are considering allowing EVs to use bus lanes and they will be given free entry into existing and future congestion zones. Until now, identification of electric vehicles would rely on number plate searches and could lead to additional processing time or admin costs. It is thought that new green number plates would make it significantly easier to identify eligible vehicles and would speed up the process, reducing costs.
Secondly, the introduction of green plates aims to increase driver awareness of electric vehicles on the road and to normalise the idea of electric travel. It is believed that, as the number of electric vehicles rises, being able to see their presence on our roads will reassure drivers of their reliability and make the transition less daunting.
While the response to the scheme was overwhelmingly positive, there were several concerns raised regarding its credibility. There is work to be done to ensure that the plates are secure and futureproofed in order to minimise the exposure to other policy changes and future market change. The scheme also must fit into the existing structures of the UK Highway Code and the ultra-low emissions vehicle market.
To action these concerns, the government has set out initial plans to allow green number plates for vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions only (74.3% positive response). The green is to be a single flash on the left-hand side of the number plate, rather than a full green plate or green symbol (61.5% positive response). It will not be mandatory to have the plates on eligible vehicles, but the scheme will be on an opt-out basis (59.9% positive response). Finally, existing vehicles which meet the requirement will be able to access the new plates as well (83% positive response).
It seems only a matter of time until these new green plates are introduced, and it is hoped that they will be a welcome addition to our roads. Until recently, it has been hard to spot electric vehicles on our roads and many still see them as a futuristic luxury. These new green flashes should help to convince the public that electric vehicles are here to stay. Furthermore, making it easier for lawmakers to offer incentives to electric vehicle drivers easily will undoubtedly make EVs more appealing. All in all, we believe this new scheme could have a very positive impact on the market and we look forward to seeing it progress.
If you are an individual, business owner or fleet manager and you are considering switching to electric, please get in touch. A member of our team would be happy to any questions that you have. Call us on 0141 280 8890 or drop us an email at [email protected]