Green registration plates will be issued for electric cars based on government plans to encourage drivers to purchase zero-emission vehicles.
The government has stated that the new license plates would make cars less polluting easily identifiable and would help their drivers to benefit from incentives such as free parking or access to clean air areas.
A consultation was launched on the proposals, modeled on a scheme in Canada that seemed to increase sales of electric cars.
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: "Green license plates are a really positive and exciting way to help everyone recognize the growing number of electric vehicles on our roads.
"By raising awareness of these vehicles and the benefits they bring to their drivers and our environment, we will be charging the zero-emission revolution."
The Department of Transportation has stated that green plates indicate a useful visual identifier for local authorities that promote zero-emission vehicle schemes, potentially allowing them to use buses or other priority lanes. The plates would keep the black lettering but on a green background, even if the design could be changed to a simple green strip or blob after consultation.
The government's behavioral in-depth team (Bit) said that distinctive nameplates would make people aware of other drivers' decisions to drive greener vehicles. Elisabeth Costa, senior director of Bit, said: "The number of clean vehicles on our roads is increasing but we do not notice it, since it is difficult to distinguish clean vehicles from those that are more polluting. Green plates make these vehicles and our decision to drive in a more ecological way, more visible on the roads.
"We think that making the changing social norm evident will help encourage more of us to trade our cars for cleaner options."
The government said it wanted to ban the sale of fossil fuel cars after 2040, as part of its Road to Zero strategy, although hybrids are currently exempted. Shapps said he would have pushed for a 2035 deadline instead.
The consultation will look for opinions on what types of vehicles should be included in the green number plate scheme. Hybrids and electric cars were both included in the scheme in Ontario, Canada, which introduced green plates almost a decade ago, allowing drivers to use lanes otherwise reserved for high-occupancy vehicles.
The British government is also consulting if all new homes with parking spaces should have mandatory charging points for built-in electric cars.
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