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

By Amber Milne
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain will introduce an electric car license plate later this year to promote cleaner vehicles, the Transport Secretary said Tuesday as the country aims to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The new signs, which have a light green stripe on one side, help the authorities identify electric vehicles and make it easier for drivers to access incentives such as cheaper parking and exemptions from emission fees.
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Secretary of Transport Grant Shapps said the initiative would raise awareness of cleaner vehicles and show the British that "a greener traffic future is within reach".
"A green recovery is key to meeting our net zero carbon commitments while promoting economic growth," he said in a statement.
The government has also committed £ 12m ($ 15.17m) to fund research into zero-emission technologies, including developing greener vehicles and improving existing technology for charging car batteries.
Tuesday's announcement follows a public consultation in October as part of the government's £ 1.5 billion Road to Zero strategy to reduce emissions from road traffic.
Only emission-free vehicles can get the new license plates.
Leading automotive service company RAC Ltd said the move alone would hardly change consumer behavior and called for further financial incentives to encourage drivers to make the switch.
"We want more direct financial incentives to lower the cost of electric vehicles as drivers tell us that cost is one of the biggest obstacles to choosing an electric vehicle," said RAC spokesman Rod Dennis.
The Telegraph reported last week that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was considering giving drivers up to £ 6,000 to exchange their diesel and gasoline cars for electric vehicles.
Edmund King, president of AA Plc, the British automobile association, said the distinctive license plates could make drivers proud, adding that more than a third of AA members supported the initiative.
"A green flash on the license plate can become a badge of honor for some drivers," he said in a statement.
($ 1 = 0.7909 pounds)

(Reporting by Amber Milne; Edited by Helen Popper. Please thank the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the non-profit branch of Thomson Reuters that covers the lives of people around the world who have difficulty living freely or fairly. Visit http : //news.trust .org)

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