Z3R0 EM15510N future: government to introduce green number plates
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced plans to introduce green number plates for zero-emission (ZE) vehicles (pure battery-electric or hydrogen fuel-cell electric).
The main purpose is to raise awareness of electric cars and for this reasons Mr Shapps proposes that green number plates should only be on cars, vans, taxis and motorbikes, but that ZE buses, coaches and lorries are not allowed to use them.
He says that green number plates could help with local initiatives such as access to bus or low emission vehicle lanes, electric charging bays, free or reduced rate parking or ultra low emission zones (ULEZ). They could also be used to support local communication and awareness campaigns.
He says: As new models enter the market and as we prepare for mass adoption of electric vehicles, consumer awareness and acceptance of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) remains a crucial part of this transition so that consumers and businesses can make confident decisions about what’s right for them.”
Bus Lane access criticised
However, the proposal to allow electric cars into bus lanes has drawn swift criticism from bus operators, who are already facing a downturn of passengers due to congestion, and pressure to remove bus lanes, as Coventry has already done.
Says Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) CEO Graham Vidler: “Green number plates have a role to play in helping consumers choose electric cars.
"They have no role to play in allowing cars to access bus lanes, a move which would harm, rather than help, the UK’s drive to net zero.”
“Electric vehicles are an important part of the UK’s drive to be net zero by 2050. The bus industry is fully supportive of this ambition and is already taking action to decarbonise the UK bus fleet.
“However, the suggestion that local authorities could use green number plates to allow electric cars to drive in bus lanes shows a disconnect with recent initiatives to put bus at the heart of the local transport network and encourage more people to take the bus.
"This should be the focus rather than seeking to move people from one type of car to another."
“Congestion costs the UK economy £13bn last year and pollution is significantly worse from vehicles stuck in traffic.
"If local authorities allow some cars to use bus infrastructure, which is already severely strained and in need of significant investment, we will simply increase congestion for bus passengers and drive people off the bus and back into cars the vast majority of which are not electric."
Consultation to seek views
A consultation on the proposal has opened today, which includes questions about what the ‘plates should look like. In it, Mr Shapps says the purpose of introducing green number plates is to:
- Provide a UK-wide mechanism enabling people to spot and differentiate vehicles based on their environmental impact
- Help inform road-users and normalise the idea of clean vehicles on our roads, encouraging a shift to cleaner vehicles
- Help local authorities to identify ULEVs and bring in local incentives for electric vehicles
The consultation, which closes on 14 January 2020, is here