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Green Number Plates for Eco-Friendly Vehicles

By Stephen Turvil | September 23, 2018


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Government proposes new “badge of honour” green number plates for environmentally friendly, zero emission, vehicles

Green Number Plates for Eco-Friendly Vehicles

Benefits of green number plates

Zero emission cars, vans and motorbikes might soon sport green number plates that double as a “badge of honour” and encourage motorists to favour them over more polluting alternatives, UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling revealed. Furthermore, fast identification of these electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles might benefit motorists in other ways. For example, easy access to:

  • Ultra-low emission zones in cities 
  • Low emission lanes that are less likely to be congested 
  • Bus lanes that are less likely to be gridlock 
  • Parking spaces that incorporate an electric vehicle charger 

The Government plans to consult with the public to establish whether there is support for green, zero emission, registration plates in The United Kingdom. Such plates are already used in Norway, Canada and China. Furthermore, the consultation considers what vehicles that have such plates should look like. For instance:


  • Front plate has a green background (rather than white) 
  • Rear plate has a green background (rather than yellow) 
  • Both plates have a green background 
  • Front plate retains a white background but has a green symbol 
  • Rear plate retains a yellow background but has a green symbol 

Green Number Plates for Eco-Friendly Vehicles Image 0

Transport Sectary praises green number plates

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The UK has a proud history of leading the world in technological advances and that is no different for ultra-low emission vehicles. We are at the forefront of innovation and testing. This new, greener, transport has the potential to bring with it cleaner air, a better environment and stronger economies for countries around the world.”

Chris Grayling also explained why he champions green plates. “Adding a badge of honour to these new, clean, vehicles is a brilliant way of helping increase awareness of their growing popularity in The United Kingdom”, he argued. “It might encourage people to think about how one could fit into their travel routine.”

Cautious welcome

The Environmental Transport Association provides a range of services to environmentally conscious motorists. It sells insurance, for instance. The company has, therefore, cautiously welcomed the government’s green number plate proposal but suggested it is only a step in the right direction. The spokesperson claimed:

“While green plates will be positive public relations for low emission car makers and early adopters of the technology, to be truly effective any such initiative must simultaneously shame the drivers of the most polluting vehicles.” On this basis, the company favours red registration plates for vehicles that have high emissions. Such machinery must be “branded”, the spokesperson said.

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