The UK Government has commenced consultations on its scheme to introduce green number plates to electric and zero-emissions cars.

Initially proposed in 2018, the plan will enable drivers of electric cars with green number plates to use bus lanes and park their vehicles free of charge.

The move is part of a £1.5bn Road to Zero strategy aimed to boost sales of electric vehicles and help the government achieve its 2050 net-zero emissions target. 

Once implemented, the scheme would see the UK join several countries such as Norway and Canada that currently identify zero-emissions cars separately from combustion-powered vehicles.

The consultation will help the government to determine which vehicles are to be eligible for the number plate, as well as its design. 

It will also help the government to understand how this scheme can be introduced to existing electric-powered and hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Early design proposals include a fully green number plate with black lettering or the addition of a green flash or dot to the plate.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “The UK is in the driving seat of global efforts to tackle vehicle emissions and climate change and improve air quality, but we want to accelerate our progress.

“Green number plates are a really positive and exciting way to help everyone recognise the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads.”

Some road campaigners have cautioned against this move, stating that it could ‘foster resentment’ among owners of petrol and diesel cars, especially those who cannot afford to make the shift to electric vehicles.

RAC roads policy head Nicholas Lyes said: “While the sentiment seems right, there are question marks as to whether drivers would see this as a badge of honour or alternatively it could foster resentment among existing drivers of petrol and diesel vehicles.

“On the face of it, drivers we’ve questioned don’t seem too impressed. Only a fifth think it’s a good idea and the majority said the number plates wouldn’t have the effect of making them any more likely to switch to an electric vehicle.”