Green plates for green cars: Britain boosts zero-emission transport

Britain will introduce a distinctive number plate for electric cars later this year to promote cleaner vehicles, the transport secretary said on Tuesday, as the country targets net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The new plates, which will carry a bright green stripe down one side, will help authorities identify electric vehicles, making it easier for their drivers to access incentives such as cheaper parking and exemptions from emissions charges.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the initiative would raise awareness of cleaner vehicles and show Britons "a greener transport future is within our grasp."

"A green recovery is key to helping us achieve our net-zero carbon commitments while also promoting economic growth," he said in a statement.

Green number plates that could give electric car drivers perks get go-ahead

Additionally, the government has allocated 12 million pounds ($15.17 million) to fund research into zero-emission technology, including developing greener vehicles and improving existing car battery charging technology.

Tuesday's announcement follows a public consultation in October as part of the government's 1.5 billion pound "Road to Zero" strategy to slash emissions from road transport.

Only zero-emission vehicles will be eligible to receive the new registration plates.

Leading automotive services company RAC Ltd said the move alone was unlikely to spur real change in consumer behaviour and called for further financial incentives to encourage drivers to make the switch.

"We'd like to see more direct financial incentives to bring the cost of EVs (electric vehicles) down, as drivers tell us it's the cost that's one of the biggest barriers to them opting for an EV," RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said.

The Telegraph reported last week that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was considering giving drivers up to 6,000 pounds to swap their diesel and petrol cars for electric vehicles.

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The Red Arrows and the Patrouille de France flypast over Nelson's Column in London to mark the visit of President of the Republic of France Emmanuel Macron. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
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French President Emmanuel Macron meets Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall during a ceremony at Carlton Gardens. The French president is visiting London on June 18, 2020 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle's BBC broadcast to occupied France following the Nazi invasion in 1940 "Appel" .
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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: Workers uncover the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square on June 17, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The statue was covered up to protect it from vandalism over the weekend, after it was targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters. It is being uncovered ahead of French President Emmanuel Macronâs visit the UK to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulleâs speech urging the French population to resist German occupation during World War II. (Photo by Ilyas Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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(Permission granted) A school pupil wearing a face mask on a bus in Newcastle as face coverings become mandatory on public transport in England with the easing of further lockdown restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Social Distancing Signs on the Cobbles of Camden Market on June 14, 2020 in London, UK .As the British government further relaxes Covid-19 lockdown measures in England, this week sees preparations being made to open non-essential stores and Transport for London handing out face masks to commuters. International travelers arriving in the UK will face a 14-day quarantine period. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)
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Edmund King, president of British motoring association AA Plc, said the distinctive license plates could instill a sense of pride among drivers, adding that more than a third of AA members backed the initiative.

"Having a green flash on the number plate may become a badge of honour for some drivers," he said in a statement. ($1 = 0.7909 pounds) (Reporting by Amber Milne; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly.

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