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Green number plates pave the way to EV ownership incentives

The Department for Transport's (DfT) 'green flash' EV number plate design

Government’s decision to fit all pure electric vehicles (EV) with partially green number plates is set to pave the way for incentives which should boost adoption of zero emission transport.

The Department for Transport (DfT) gave the green light for the flash of green down the left-side of UK number plates ahead of the Government’s ban on the sale of all new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars from 2035, and the UK’s aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

The DfT said that the move, which follows consultation on the scheme last autumn, would allow local authorities to “design and put in place new policies to incentivise people to own and drive” EVs.

Reduced parking prices – or full exemptions – and congestion zone charging exemption likely to be made easier through the new green ‘plates detection by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "A green recovery is key to helping us achieve our net zero carbon commitments while also promoting economic growth.

"Green number plates could unlock a number of incentives for drivers and increase awareness of cleaner vehicles on our roads, showing people that a greener transport future is within our grasp.”

The DfT has also announced that £12m was being made available for further zero-emission vehicle research, with £10m going to projects examining advancements in alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) development and charging infrastructure.

A further £2m is set to help support research in areas such as battery technology.

However, despite Shapps’ claims that the UK Government’s was making “a multi-million pound investment” in AFV promotion, “ensuring that UK businesses remain at the forefront of low-carbon innovation and research” many industry commentators want a far greater pledge of support.

While reports in the Financial Times (FT) last week suggested a UK car scrappage scheme was now unlikely, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition followed the lead set by French president Emmanuel Macron in increasing its grant funding for electric vehicle (EV) buyers earlier this month.

Merkel and German Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz agreed to doubled its share of the existing purchase incentive for electric cars and hybrid cars - paying a grant of €6,000 (£5,370) for a pure EV in addition to an OEM-backed subsidy of €3,000 (£2,685) - as part of a stimulus package worth €130 billion euros (£116.3bn) to boost its economy’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The French Government, meanwhile, will offer car buyers grants of over £6,000 and drive domestic vehicle manufacturing through a £7.1 billion COVID-19 recovery package for its automotive sector.

President Emmanuel Macron outlined the funding boost for motorists considering making the switch to electric vehicles (EV) and also committed cash to investments aimed at making France a centre for electric vehicle output as part of its recovery from the COVID-19 coronavirus output.

Rod Dennis, from the RAC, told the Daily Mirror: "While this is well-intentioned, we don't believe green number plates on their own will do much to make people switch to an electric car.

"We'd much prefer the Government looked at things like bringing in the right financial incentives."

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