Green number plates: everything you need to know

As you get out on the roads more after lockdown, you’ll notice lots of cars suddenly have a green badge at the side of their number plates – especially on newer, recently registered models. Wondering what that’s all about? Well, we’ve got you covered.


The UK Government approved these plates in 2020 for use on zero-emission vehicles. Sorry hybrids – if you run on diesel or petrol in any way, you won’t be wearing a little green number plate flash anytime soon.


The idea is that the plates will make it easier for local authorities to introduce new incentives for zero-emission vehicles, such as discounted or free parking; using certain lanes or routes; and congestion charging for more polluting vehicles. And the plates are the latest in a number of measures designed to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030.


The plates aren’t mandatory, but can be bought retrospectively. So, if you’re keen to show off your green credentials in your fully electric, zero-emission vehicle, you can purchase the new plates and have them fitted. Just bear in mind you’ll need to prove your car fits the criteria to the plate retailer.


For many years, cars with a current registration plate were seen as a status symbol in Britain. Time will tell if the green flash will gain traction on our roads…