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Legislation from as far back as 1973 dictates the universally recognized format of a white plate with black lettering on the front of UK cars and a rear plate that is yellow with black lettering. But could this be about to change for the first time in nearly fifty years – ThePlateMan explains.
No-one who watches television could be unaware of the new generation of cleaner cars, electric and hybrid vehicles that run on a dual system. With the green agenda always very prominent on the political radar, the government and industry are always seeking new ways to promote the use of cleaner cars.
There are a number of ways in which this is reflected in regulation and legislation. For instance, there is a general move afoot to get older cars who generally have dirtier and less efficient engines, off the road by the introduction of more stringent testing at the MOT.
The recent introduction of the regulation that a visible engine warning light is an automatic MOT failure was thought to be specifically targeting older vehicles. Many people drive around with orange warning lights on permanently. These insidious electronic faults in an older engine can be hideous to find and possibly not even economic to resolve with labor charges at £50 per hour.

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On a more positive note, the government is always seeking ways to encourage the general public to embrace the new, cleaner technology and one of the latest proposals under consideration is the issue of green number plates to clean cars, taxis and vans, a simple and very visible representation of new vehicles with ultra-low emissions.
This is not a new idea – Norway, Canada, and China are already doing this. The plates would be available to cars that were electric or hydrogen-powered. It’s a simple concept but one which could be very powerful. The idea of the green number plate could tie in well with other initiatives under consideration such as designated vehicle lanes for low emission vehicles in town – a definite winner and zones designed around ultra low emission vehicles.
The UK government announced an industry-wide consultation on this quite recently to review the reaction to this proposal and see how green number plates could work in the UK. Chris Grayling, the former Transport Secretary for the UK government said, “Adding a green badge of honor to these new clean vehicles is a brilliant way of helping increase awareness of their growing popularity in the UK, and might just encourage people to think about how one could fit into their own travel routine.”

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It’s not rocket science, green plates are eye-catching and attractive color. After nearly fifty years of white and yellow, the plates will be highly visible by virtue of their color and could become something of a desirable acquisition. Various types of a plate are under review including a totally green plate, one green plate either at the front or rear of the vehicle with the remaining plate of standard design or, the simple addition of a green symbol. Green plates are all part of the Road to a Zero strategy which envisions a time of road travel with zero harmful emissions.

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