Green number plates – UK’s journey along the "Road to Zero"

23 June 2020

On the 16th June 2020, the UK Government announced plans to introduce a green number plate for new and existing zero emission vehicles.  It is hoped that this will boost awareness of the increasing adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles among the public and make clean vehicles easy for local authorities to distinguish.  This will enable towns to have schemes which give cheaper parking and free entry into zero-emission zones for drivers of clean cars, where those with a green number plate will be recognised as eligible.

 The announcement is a conclusion of a 12-week Government consultation, started in October 2019, involving vehicle manufacturers; motoring and consumer groups; local authorities and public bodies and number plate industry groups.  The plates will be non-mandatory, but opt-out, and will be available for qualifying cars, vans, taxis and motorcycles; buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). They will be marked with a green flash on the left-hand side as shown below:

In further moves to accelerate the transition to zero emission mobility the Government is now consulting on bringing forward the end of sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040 to 2035, and last week announced £12 million research funding for zero emission vehicle research, including battery technology.

The UK has recognised the importance of zero emission vehicles for several years and sees them as key to reducing carbon emissions and also as an important part of its industrial strategy.  The UK hosted the first Zero Emission Vehicles Summit in 2018 where Government ministers stated that zero emission vehicles were crucial to meeting its 2050 zero net emission targets.


Taking a similar approach, in May the EU unveiled plans for investing into green transport, including zero emission vehicles and a doubling of European charging infrastructure as a way to kick-start the economy across the region as part of its COVID-19 recovery plan .

It’s very encouraging to see that even though we are still in a period of crisis, Governments are working to reach their carbon reduction targets. If you are interested in green policies, please feel free to contact us.


Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.