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Green number plate message not clear, say drivers

Almost a third (31%) of drivers don’t know what green number plates represent, more than six months after their introduction.

The green number plates went live for zero-emission vehicles in the UK in December 2020

That’s according to a new AA survey of 14,719 drivers that found only 63% correctly stated that a green slash on a number plate denotes a zero-emission vehicle. And 9% gave an incorrect answer.

The number plates were introduced in December 2020, intended to boost the profile of electric vehicles and make it easier for councils to introduce eco incentives for EV drivers.

But among the 9% who gave an incorrect answer about what they’re for, 274 people said it indicates being allowed to park in green zones, 53 people thought the driver was an Irish National, 36 people said it meant the driver was a member of the Green Party and 35 people said it meant the driver voted Brexit.

Younger drivers were more likely to correctly identify what the number plates are for (74% of 18-24-year-olds) compared to the over-65s (58%).

Drivers in Wales (59%) and Northern Ireland (54%) were least likely to give the correct answer, whilst those in London, perhaps due to the high density of EVs, were most likely to get it right (66%).

Edmund King, AA president, said that awareness of the new number plates will rise as EVs more common – they’re projected to make up a quarter of new car sales in 2025.

But he added: “To encourage a faster uptake, incentives must remain in place to reduce the purchase price of EVs and home chargers. Radical moves like cutting VAT on certain EV models would also speed the uptake.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.