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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/introduction-of-green-number-plates-for-ultra-low-emission-vehicles/outcome/green-number-plates-for-ultra-low-emission-vehicles-government-response
As the first major global economy to pass a law that requires us to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, the UK is on track to end its contribution to climate change. The government is committed to making lasting changes in the way we travel and to helping build a greener country for the benefit of everyone.
The transition to zero-emission vehicles is central to meeting our climate targets. It is crucial that we not only tackle poor air quality in our towns and cities, but also support economic growth across the country through skilled jobs and investment in the clean industries of our future.
To achieve this, we are putting £2.5 billion towards zero-emission vehicle grants as well as support for chargepoint infrastructure in homes and workplaces, on residential streets and across the wider road network. This also includes investment in the research and development of zero-emission technologies.
As we prepare for the mass take up of electric vehicles, green number plates provide an effective way to raise awareness. We will introduce them as early as this autumn, demonstrating that a green revolution is taking place across the country.
From individual drivers, to business fleets, to cities and local authorities, green number plates are an exciting opportunity for drivers to show leadership and visible commitment to the future of the planet. They will provide powerful motivation to encourage drivers to shift to cleaner vehicles.
As we recover from COVID-19, it is clear that we have an unprecedented opportunity to build back greener so that our economy is more sustainable and resilient. We will put a green recovery for transport at the heart of our decision-making, ensuring that we act on our commitment to deliver better air quality to improve people’s health and lower carbon emissions, now and for future generations.
Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP
Secretary for State for Transport
The transition to zero emission vehicles is central to meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals; tackling poor air quality in our towns and cities; and, supporting economic growth in the UK by lowering costs for consumers and providing skilled jobs and investment in the energy and automotive sectors.
UK government is investing around £2.5 billion, with grants available for plug in cars, vans, lorries, buses, taxis and motorcycles, as well as funding to support charge point infrastructure at homes, workplaces, on residential streets and across the wider roads network.
In July 2018, government published the Road to Zero Strategy that set out how government will enable and support the transition to zero emission road transport and reduce emissions from conventional vehicles. We are currently consulting on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible, as well as including hybrids for the first time. Government has committed to a 2050 net zero target for the UK. This puts the UK on track to end our contribution to climate change, becoming one of the first major economies to legislate for net zero emissions.
We have made real progress to date. In 2019 the UK was the third largest market for Ultra Low Emission vehicles (ULEVs) in Europe and is a global leader in their development and manufacture. Government and industry have supported the installation of over 18,000 devices providing over 25,500 publicly available chargepoints, of which over 2,600 are rapid chargepoints, making it one of the largest charging networks in Europe. Our grant schemes, including our £400 million public-private Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF) and £500 million to support the rollout of a fast-charging network for electric vehicles (EVs), will see thousands more electric vehicle chargepoints installed across the UK, ensuring that drivers will never be further than 30 miles from a rapid charging station.
Green number plates consultation
As new models enter the market and as we prepare for mass adoption of EVs, consumer awareness and acceptance of zero and ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) remain a crucial part of this transition so that consumers and businesses can make confident decisions about what’s right for them.
On 22 October 2019 we published a 12 week, public consultation on the introduction of green number plates for zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). Green number plates aim to:
- provide a UK-wide mechanism which will enable 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. This plays an important part in encouraging road users to shift to cleaner vehicles
- help local authorities visually identify ZEVs for the purposes of locally led policies and incentives, and local communication and awareness campaigns
The consultation made clear that to be a success, the green number plate scheme must secure and maintain credibility, and the trust and confidence of stakeholders and the public. This means it must minimise risk to other policy areas, and must be futureproofed so that it does not get outdated by market change. The scheme must also be deliverable within existing structures and contexts, and in timescales that are appropriate to capture the growing ULEV market.
The consultation therefore set out government’s initial view and reasoning on a range of aspects of the policy, and invited comment on these matters. Our aim with this approach was to focus the response of industry and the public, to ensure an outcome that is deliverable and minimises risk for other important policy areas. Targeted stakeholder engagement prior to the consultation helped develop understanding about potential ways the scheme could be successfully implemented. This also helped identify the themes and questions that were explored through the consultation.
A total of 1200 responses were submitted, comprising 1134 individuals and 66 organisations. The organisations were made up of vehicle manufacturers and interest groups; various motoring and consumer groups; local authorities and public bodies; and number plate industry groups. Government is grateful for the considered opinions and reasoning submitted in response to this consultation.
All responses to the consultation were recorded and analysed, with common issues and themes identified. These have been used to produce the final government decision. This document comprises a summary of the responses received and sets out government’s decisions on how to proceed, before outlining next steps.
Decisions taken following consultation
Respondents were generally supportive of the approaches proposed in the consultation document for how green number plates should implemented. The main outcomes and decisions are briefly summarised.
Reflecting on the views submitted, government is minded to define green number plate eligibility for vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions only. Government will also stipulate green number plate design to be a green flash on the left hand side of the number plate, rather than a full green background or green symbol. The plates will be non-mandatory but opt-out, and be available to new and existing qualifying vehicles. Green number plates will be open to qualifying cars, vans, taxis and motorcycles; and buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The scheme will be inserted into the existing regulatory and enforcement landscape around the supply and display of eligible plates.
Stakeholder views and government response
Question 1: Do you agree with our proposal that only zero tailpipe emission vehicles would be eligible for green number plates?
1168 respondents answered this question, comprising 1114 individuals and 54 organisations.
74.3% (868) of respondents agreed with the consultation proposal that only vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions (e.g. full battery or hydrogen fuel cell electric) should be eligible for green number plates. This comprised 827 individuals (74.2%) and 41 (75.9%) organisations.
Respondents that agreed with the position felt this approach would be much more transparent and coherent in the context of wider policy measures and goals around the phase out of conventionally fuelled petrol and diesel cars and vans. This approach was also viewed as incentivising the cleanest vehicles, and would be simpler and easier for the public to understand. Others cited the importance of tackling air quality emissions from road transport, and that there is scope for confused messaging if eligibility allows the potential for tailpipe emissions.
Those respondents that disagreed with the approach cited a number of reasons. Many of these respondents referenced that stricter eligibility criteria would mean fewer green number plates on the road, and so lessen the awareness raising effect. Others pointed out that this approach could have the effect of making plug-in hybrids and other hybrids appear not green, when in practice they can bring significant environmental benefits.
The majority of respondents that disagreed felt there was an argument to align the eligibility criteria other policies or schemes. The highest number suggested alignment with OLEV’s plug-in car grant (PICG) – which requires a minimum zero emission range of 70 miles. A slightly smaller number of respondents argued for a lower zero emission range of at least 50 miles. Several argued for a requirement of under 50 grams of CO2 per kilometre with no zero-emission range requirement. A handful suggested the criteria should be aligned with definitions of ULEVs. A small number suggested a tiered eligibility structure with differing levels of emissions, or zero emission range, reflected in the design of the number plate.
Government welcomes the views submitted on this proposal, and notes they provided for a meaningful discussion as to the approach of this policy. Two general positions that have emerged. One is to set eligibility at zero tailpipe emissions only, which would capture full battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric. Another approach is to set a lower requirement, stipulating requirements for grams of CO2 per kilometre and in some cases a zero emission range, which would also allow most plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The basis for respondents’ comments mirrored many of the considerations identified by government in the consultation document. These included the numbers of vehicles captured through the eligibility requirements; the ease at which the scheme could be understood and administered; the level of ambition and futureproofing; messaging around vehicles which are ineligible for green number plates; and, how eligibility fits with wider policy goals.
Reflecting on the views submitted, government will define green number plate eligibility for vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions only. This is due to being simple and transparent, and very easy for consumers to understand – as it rules out the potential for any tailpipe climate and air quality emissions. It is more easily operationalised, as it creates eligibility requirements that are clearer and simpler to communicate and evidence. It also incentivises the cleanest vehicles and is futureproofed against rapid technology change – so stays effective as a strong communications and behavioural tool to support long term policy objectives and targets.
Action: Through the legislative amendments and implementation of this policy, government will establish that green number plates will only be available to vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions. Design
Question 2: Do you agree with our proposal that the green number plate design should be restricted to the left-hand side of the number plate?
1162 answered this question, comprising 1110 individuals and 52 organisations.
61.5% (715) of respondents agreed with the consultation proposal that the green design should be restricted to the left-hand side of the plate. This comprised 680 (61.2%) individuals and 35 (67.3%) organisations. Respondents that agreed with the proposed position were not prompted to give their reasoning.
372 (33.5%) individuals, and 16 (30.7%) organisations disagreed with the proposed position. Many of these respondents stated that a fully green plate would better serve the aims of the policy, as it would have a greater visual impact and awareness raising effect. A small number of respondents suggested automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems could in fact process a completely green plate, if the plate possessed certain reflectivity standards.
Question 3: For the design on the left-hand side of the number plate, do you think this should be a green flash, a green symbol, or something else?
1141 answered this question, comprising 1093 individuals and 48 organisations. The responses were:
- 661 (57.9%) of the total supported a green flash, of which 629 (57.5%) were individuals, and 32 (66.6%) were organisations
- 179 (15.7%) of the total supported a green symbol, of which 172 (15.7%) were individuals, and 7 (14.6%) were organisations
- 301 (26.4%) of the total supported something else to the two suggested options, of which 292 (26.7%) were individuals, and 9 (18.8%) were organisations
Those that answered something else, were asked for their ideas. Several suggestions were made around prefixing eligible vehicles with the letter “E” or “H”, to identify electric or hydrogen powered vehicles. Several respondents highlighted their preference for a green border around the plate, or green lettering on the current white or yellow background. A number of respondents again suggested a symbol to represent the environmental credentials of ZEVs, such as a leaf, or tree, would be more appropriate. Others suggested a battery, plug, or lightning bolt, would also help indicate the presence of a high voltage system on board.
Question 4: Should the left hand design be displayed in addition to national flags and lettering that can occupy that area of the plate?
1145 answered this question, comprising 1101 individuals and 44 organisations.
607 (53%) of respondents were in favour of displaying the left-hand design in addition to national flags and lettering that can occupy that area of the plate. This comprised 582 (52.9%) individuals and 25 (56.8%) organisations. 381 (33.3%) were against this approach, comprising 371 (33.7%) individuals and 10 (22.7%) organisations – indicating they felt drivers should have to choose between displaying these design characteristics.157 respondents (13.7%) indicated they did not know/have a preference.
Question 5: What other views and reasoning on the design of the green number plates do you feel should be considered
Respondents here reiterated their previously made views summarised above.
The consultation document set out a number of considerations relating to the design of the plates. These included the need to providing an effective awareness-raising and communications tool; establishing and maintaining buy-in and trust, such as by avoiding wider policy risks; and taking forward a design that can be delivered through legislative change in an appropriate timeframe to support the policy’s goals.
These considerations were reflected in our proposed position for the design to be limited to the left hand side of the numberplate – as oppose to a full green background. A majority of respondents were supportive of this approach. We therefore will proceed with the design element being restricted to the left hand side of the numberplate.
A small handful of respondents suggested that a full green background plate could be read by ANPR cameras. To ensure there would be no compatibility issues with ANPR technology would require extensive testing and a change to the British Standard for Retroreflective Number Plates, which whilst possible would be a lengthy process that would delay the implementation of the plates.
Respondents also showed a preference for a green flash rather than a symbol or something else. This matches government’s moderate preference set out in the consultation document, as it creates a clearer and more dominant identifier. We therefore will proceed with the green flash on the left hand side of the plate design.
We note other suggestions for a symbol to represent the environmental credentials of vehicles. Although this could be partnered well with a wider awareness campaign, it would likely be less noticeable and may be at odds stylistically with the current approach for British number plates. Others suggested a green border to the numberplate. However, a narrow coloured border is a design feature that is already permitted on plates, and a thicker border would impact the space available for lettering. Others suggested the design could incorporate lettering on the left hand side of the plate, before the registration mark. Adding additional lettering would be problematic as is likely to be picked up by ANPR, leading to incorrect reads. Others suggested specific lettering as part of the registration mark (i.e. registration numbers and letters). This would be challenging in the UK, given its current number plate formatting. An “EV” prefix for example, as used in Norway, would not work in the UK as these first two letters are already a regional identifier - indicating the vehicle was registered in Essex.
Respondents also showed a preference for the design on the left hand side of the plate to be displayed in addition to the current UK’s national flags and identifying letters that can occupy that area of the plate. Government feels this can be achieved without appearing cluttered, or losing clarity or reducing the awareness raising effect. As reflected in the consultation document, government is advising those with the separate “GB” national identifier and EU flag (“GB Europlates”) that they should display a GB sticker on the rear of the vehicle when travelling in the EU now the UK has left the EU, after the transition period. We therefore will allow the green flash on the left hand side of the plate design to be displayed in addition to UK national flags and lettering.
Action: Though the legislative amendments, government will stipulate green number plate design to be a green flash on the left hand side of the number plate, and that the design can be displayed in addition to UK national flags and lettering.
Rollout and implementation
Question 6: Do you agree with our proposal that the green number plates should not be mandatory?
1158 answered this question, comprising 1108 individuals and 50 organisations.
724 (59.9%) agreed with the consultation proposal that green number plates should not be mandatory for eligible vehicles. 694 (62.6%) were individuals and 30 (60%) were organisations. Respondents that agreed with the proposed position were not prompted to give their reasoning.
387 (33.4%) disagreed, of which 367 (33.1%) were individuals and 20 (40%) were organisations. Of those that disagreed, several respondents suggested uptake and the awareness raising effect of green number plates would be greater if they were mandatory. Others argued mandating the plates would have better practical benefits, such as helping the enforcement of EV charging bays. Many also suggested that mandating the usage of green number plates would also ease rollout and enforcement, as well as reducing confusion. Several respondents pointed out mandatory green number plates could help emergency services identify and distinguish between ZEVs and ICE vehicles in the event of a road accident.
Question 6b: Do you agree with our proposal that the green number plates should be opt-out?
1152 answered this question, comprising 1105 individuals and 47 organisations.
642 (55.7%) respondents agreed with the consultation proposal that green number plates should be opt-out. This was composed of 616 (55.7%) individuals, and 26 (55.3%) organisations. Respondents that agreed with the proposed position were not prompted to give their reasoning.
434 (37.7%) disagreed, of which 417 (37.7%) were individuals and 17 (36.2%) were organisations. Most of those who disagreed did not do so on the basis that they believed the scheme should be opt-in, but rather because they believed it should be mandatory with no opt-out. so as to increase awareness raising and visual impact. A number of respondents also raised concern that an opt-out system would create reliability issues with the scheme, and add complexity to enforcement for parking officers, for example.
Question 7a: Do you agree that after the introduction of the plates both new and existing qualifying vehicles will be able to access them?
1156 answered this question, comprising 1104 individuals and 52 organisations.
963 (83%) respondents agreed that green number plates should be available to new and existing eligible vehicles.
913 (82.6%) were individuals and 50 (96.1%) were organisations. Respondents that agreed with the proposed position were not prompted to give their reasoning.
158 (13.7%) disagreed, of which 156 (14.1%) were individuals and 2 (3.8%) were organisations. No substantive arguments were offered in support of this position.
Question 8: Do you agree that green number plates should be open to qualifying cars, vans, taxis and motorbikes, but that buses, coaches and HGVs are out of scope?
Approximately 80% of respondents agreed with the consultation proposal that green number plates should be open to eligible cars, vans, taxis and motorcycles, as shown in table 1.
|Total: 1134||Yes||No||Don’t know|
However, almost 60% of respondents disagreed with the consultation proposal that green number plates should not be open to qualifying buses, coaches and HGVs, as shown in table2.
|Total: 1124||Yes||No||Don’t know|
The majority of respondents that disagreed with the proposed position that green number plates would not be open to qualifying cars, vans, taxis and motorbikes only – as buses, coaches and HGVs felt that allowing these vehicles to display the plates would be consistent and further assist in the aims of the policy. Many also felt that, as these categories of vehicles are often harder to decarbonise, those that do should be recognised for their efforts. It was also suggested a broader scope would better allow commercial entities to display their environmental credentials, and be easily identified and attractive to consumers. Comments were particularly supportive of buses being able to display green number plates, as they offer the potential for zero emission, mass public transport.
Government’s consultation proposals around the rollout and implementation of green number plates reflected considerations around maximising the uptake and awareness raising effect, whilst at the same time maintaining good-will and positive engagement with the scheme.
Respondents showed a preference for green number plates to be non-mandatory and opt-out. We agree that this approach creates a landscape where the plates are encouraged and seen as the default option, but allows for people to not have them if they wish. We acknowledge that a non-mandatory approach may mean there are fewer green number plates on the road, but feel this is approach is needed to ensure the wider success of the scheme. We note some respondents queried how a non-mandatory scheme would interact with the potential for local incentives and policies. These comments are addressed in the “enforcement” section. As part of designing the implementation of an opt-out scheme, careful consideration will be given to finding a suitable process to help consumers opt-out if they wanted to. We will therefore implement green number plates as being non-mandatory and opt-out.
The vast majority of respondents agreed with the proposed position that green number plates should be available to new and existing qualifying vehicles. We are conscious this will require government and the DVLA to work closely with industry over the coming months to make clear the process for supplying and correctly issuing the plates. We will therefore implement green number plates based on them being available to new and existing qualifying vehicles.
Respondents provided useful views and reasoning on the scope of vehicle types that green number plates should be available for. Government had proposed that it should be limited to cars, vans, taxis and motorcycles; but, that buses, coaches and HGVs were out of scope. However, respondents showed a clear preference for a more inclusive scheme, that captured light and heavy vehicles. Government accepts this view and is supportive of the reasoning provided, such as the shared need to tackle climate and air quality emissions from these vehicles. We will therefore ensure green number plates will be open to qualifying cars, vans, taxis and motorcycles; and, buses, coaches and HGVs.
Given this wider scope, a question arises around if the eligibility criteria for green number plates should be the same for heavier vehicles, as it is for light vehicles. Government is especially aware of the additional challenges of decarbonising and reducing emissions from heavier vehicles, and that it is a more nascent vehicle market. However, a key aspect of the green number plates policy is that it should provide a simple, awareness raising tool that cuts through the complexity around technology, and is futureproofed so it stays effective as a tool to help meet wider emissions goals. Although there are differences between tackling emissions of light and heavy vehicles, we feel the reasoning for setting eligibility for light vehicles at zero tailpipe emissions only also applies to buses, coaches and HGVs. We will therefore set the eligibility requirement of zero tailpipe emissions for light vehicles (cars, vans, taxis, motorbikes) and heavy vehicles (buses, coaches, HGVs).
Action: Through the legislative amendments, and supporting industry engagement on implementation, government will implement a scheme where green number plates are non-mandatory; opt-out; available to new and existing qualifying vehicles; and, available to cars, vans, taxis, motorbikes, as well as buses, coaches, HGVs.
Question 9: Do you agree with our proposal to seek a light touch scheme that can be implemented more quickly so as to capture the emerging vehicle market?
1153 answered this question, comprising 1106 individuals and 47 organisations.
762 (66.1%) agreed that green number plates should be a light touch scheme. This was comprised of 727 (65.7%) individuals and 35 (74.5%) organisations. Respondents that agreed with the proposed position were not prompted to give their reasoning.
289 (25.1%) disagreed, of which 280 (25.3%) were individuals and 9 (19.1%) were organisations. A handful of respondents who disagreed with a light touch approach made a wider point that they felt the wider regulatory regime for number plate production and supply was insufficient, and needed tightening and more effective enforcement.
Question 10: Do you agree with our proposal that the scheme should fit into the existing regulatory and enforcement landscape around the supply and display of eligible plates?
1157 answered this question, comprising 1106 individuals and 51 organisations.
918 (79.3%) agreed with the consultation proposal that green number plates should fit into the existing regulatory and enforcement landscape. This was comprised of 871 (78.8%) individuals and 47 (92.2%) organisations. Respondents that agreed with the proposed position were not prompted to give their reasoning.
149 (12.9%) disagreed, of which 146 (13.2%) were individuals and 3 (5.9%) were organisations. The majority of these respondents did not provide a substantive view on what they thought would be more suitable. A number restated their view that the current, wider approach to number plate regulation required reform.
Question 11: Do you agree that the visual characteristics of green number plates should only serve as a soft enforcement mechanism?
1148 answered this question, comprising 1101 individuals and 47 organisations.
865 (75.3%) agreed that the green number plate itself should only serve as a soft enforcement mechanism. This was comprised of 827 (75.1%) individuals and 38 (80.1%) organisations. Respondents that agreed with the proposed position were not prompted to give their reasoning.
195 (16.9%) disagreed, of which 189 (17.2%) were individuals and 6 (12.8%) were organisations. A handful of these respondents felt the proposed approach would mean a missed opportunity for creating a local enforcement tool that could be used around things like EV chargepoint bays being blocked by conventional petrol/diesel vehicles. Some felt it was overly onerous to suggest ANPR would be required for local policies. A small handful more widely questioned the use of ANPR for local policy enforcement, citing concerns around data, privacy and proportionality.
The consultation document set out the proposed delivery model for green number plates is to fit into the existing number plate landscape in the UK, and have no negative impact on ANPR performance. It also seeks to be successfully delivered and operationalised in timeframes appropriate to support policy goals.
A key aspect is the proposal for a lighter touch implementation approach, which is reflected in the approach taken on design; the way green number plates will be used by local authorities; and the way they are enforced - both nationally and locally. The majority of respondents agreed with this light touch approach and reasoning, therefore government will take it forward as an underlying principle of the policy.
Respondents were also supportive of the proposal for the visual characteristics of green number plates only to serve as a soft enforcement mechanism. This is a key element of the scheme, and means the plates will help local authorities to identify ZEVs, for local supporting policies, communication campaigns and potentially incentives. But crucially it is only a visual indicator, and local authorities will have to continue to use systems such as ANPR to enforce the locally led measures, like Zero Emission Zones and Clean Air Zones. Government will take forward the proposal for the visual characteristics of green number plates to only serve as a soft enforcement mechanism.
Government is conscious of views questioning the use of ANPR for local policy enforcement, and concerns around data, privacy and proportionality. As is the case now, it is for cities, combined and local authorities to ensure their policies have an appropriate enforcement and penalty regime in place for their policies, which has an appropriate legal basis. The green number plates scheme does not itself require or serve to increase the use of ANPR for enforcement of local measures.
Respondents were also supportive of the proposal for the scheme to fit into the existing regulatory and enforcement landscape around the supply and display of eligible plates. The consultation document set out in detail the current landscape for number plate supply and regulation. In summary, it is currently an offence to supply or display a plate that a vehicle is not eligible for. Under this approach, green number plates would fall under the existing police enforcement landscape around vehicles displaying eligible plates. Government will take forward the proposal for the scheme to fit into the existing regulatory and enforcement landscape around the supply and display of eligible plates.
We acknowledge a small number of respondents conveyed concerns that green number plates could increase number plate fraud risk, but this was largely born out of a misconception that the green design will automatically entitle the vehicle owner to access incentives. A similar number suggested the need for wider reform of number plate regulation.
As outlined, as the plates would only be a soft enforcement aid, that provides a visual tool to help indicate vehicle emissions and type, there is no direct link to incentives. As they do now, local areas would have to consider appropriate ways to more formally enforce any local measures they introduce. The fact that green number plates will be non-mandatory, and that ANPR reads the characters on the number plates and not the colour, further illustrates that there would be no material benefit to displaying a green number plate. For these reasons the scheme is unlikely to increase the risk of number plate fraud and cloning. We note the wider number plate regime is currently being looked at by a joint industry-government working group, chaired by DVLA, and commissioned by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner.
Action: Through the legislative amendments, government will insert the scheme into the existing regulatory and enforcement landscape around the supply and display of eligible plates. Government will work with industry to maintain the light touch approach to the scheme’s implementation, and make clear green number plates should only serve as a visual awareness raising tool, and soft enforcement mechanism for any local measures.
Question 12: Please provide any other views around the expected cost of implementing this policy
A number of industry respondents said that, from their perspective, any increase in the price over conventional plates would be very minor. This mirrored the view set out by government in the consultation document.
Respondents conveyed a general expectation that for new vehicles, the consumer should not be exposed to additional costs over conventional plates – indicating they felt any increase in cost would be borne by the vehicle retailer. Many respondents felt that the suggested increase in number plate price would be acceptable in the context of the cost of a qualifying vehicle.
A handful of respondents conveyed that central rather local government should bear the cost of any local policies for which vehicles with green number plates might be eligible. A small number of respondents felt the climate and air quality emission benefits arising from the scheme justify the low increase in number plate cost.
Responses have confirmed that the UK number plate industry is very well equipped to supply green number plates once introduced, and at negligible or zero additional cost. For new vehicles, it is likely the difference in cost is so small it will not be passed onto the consumer. For existing vehicles, the consumer will be choosing to purchase a new pair of plates, so will have to pay for them as is the case now. However, the evidence suggests there will be minimal difference in cost between green and conventional number plates. Government is satisfied the scheme is deliverable, and the costs of the policy are negligible and acceptable. Government will ensure issues of consumer experience and cost remain central to the implementation of the scheme.
We note some respondents referred to the cost of implementing local policies and incentives. As stated in the consultation document, green number plates is primarily an awareness rising tool, and that any local policies and incentives must be locally led, appropriately enforced, and fit in with local community and transport needs.
Question 13: Any other comments?
Respondents to this question generally reiterated their views provided on other questions, or gave wider observations on the policy. A small number of respondents highlighted that those with colour vision deficiencies need to be considered through the number plate design. A handful of respondents felt that ZEVs should not be differentiated from conventional petrol and diesel vehicles. Others suggested a more effective approach would be to introduce a red number plate identifier for conventional petrol and diesel vehicles, leaving ZEVs with standard plates. A number of respondents conveyed their disagreement with the green number plates policy.
A small number of respondents felt terms like ‘ultra low emission’ were unclear and needed to be consistently applied across all local schemes. A number of responses concentrated their answer here around views on electric vehicle charging infrastructure provision. A handful conveyed they did not agree with the idea of ZEVs being allowed into bus lanes.
There were a range of views submitted through this question, that were mostly covered through the other questions or that do not need a standalone response. Government agrees that those with colour vision deficiencies are an important consideration in designing public policies. We have considered the merits of green number plates having a symbol identifier, but that has proven to be less popular and challenging to implement. We will keep the tonal contrast and visual differentiation of the green flash against the background of the plate under consideration as we move forward with implementing the policy. We would like to also make clear that UK government has no plans to open up bus lanes to EVs.
Resulting scheme design and next steps
Green number plates scheme design
Through this consultation, government proposed a handful of proposed positions regarding the characteristics and implementation of the policy, and asked for feedback and views from stakeholders. The above chapter has summarised those views, and set out government’s response to them and the resulting agreed position. This section now brings those elements together, to set out the resulting policy design and approach to implementation.
- a UK-wide mechanism which will enable 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. This plays an important part in encouraging road users to shift to cleaner vehicles
- help local authorities to visually identify ZEVs for the purposes of locally led policies and incentives, and local communication and awareness campaigns
- green number plates will only be available to vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions
- • green number plate design will be a green flash on the left hand side of the number plate. The design can be displayed in addition to a national flag and lettering. The design will be on front and rear plates.
Rollout and implementation
- green number plates will be non-mandatory; opt-out; available to new and existing qualifying vehicles. This includes eligible cars, vans, taxis, motorbikes, as well as buses, coaches, HGVs
- the green number plate design and eligibility criteria will be inserted into the existing legislation that forms part of the existing regulatory and enforcement landscape around the supply and display of eligible plates
- green number plates will not be directly linked to local policies or incentives. As is the case now, it is for cities and local authorities to ensure any policies they introduce have an appropriate enforcement and penalty regime in place, which has an appropriate legal basis. Green number plates will provide a visual aid to help local authorities to identify ZEVs for the purposes of locally led policies and incentives, and local communication and awareness campaigns
In conjunction with the DVLA, government will now seek to amend the necessary legislation to implement the above scheme. The timescales for this are subject to Parliamentary time, but we will aim to do so with a view to introducing the number plates in the UK in Autumn 2020, so as to capture the emerging vehicle market and act when the awareness raising benefits are highest.
Following this consultation process, we will also now convene further engagement with the vehicle and number plate industries, to ensure the sector is engaged and prepared to implement on time and in the correct manner. Where possible this will be done through existing channels, appropriate trade bodies and consumer organisations.
Annex A - Green numberplate design
Note: The green flash design can be displayed in addition to a national flag and lettering