Plan Insurance Blog

Free Parking and Access to Bus Lanes for Green Vehicles

Drivers of zero-emission vehicles could get access to bus lanes and be entitled to free parking, as part of the government’s strategy to clean up road transport.

We reported on this last year when the government launched a consultation over the use of green plates for green vehicles, and highlighted a few of the potential issues then.

Since then, the number of EVs has risen sharply, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reporting that 25,097 purely electric new cars were registered during the first nine months of the year, more than twice the amount to hit the road in the same period last year.

Electric Vehicles now represent 1.3% of the new car market.

The proposal could see “cleaner vehicles” equipped with either:

  • A fully green number plate with black lettering
  • The addition of a green flash on the plate
  • The addition of a green dot or symbol

While the Department for Transport (DfT) argues that green number plates are “a really positive and exciting way to help everyone recognise the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads”, RAC Head of Roads Policy Nicholas Lyes warned that “they could foster resentment among owners of conventionally fuelled vehicles”.

He said:

“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.”

The government are trying to reach their “zero emissions by 2050” targets and offering benefits such as free parking and access to bus lanes certainly may entice more drivers to switch to electric vehicles.

However, once again the same questions remain: Is the infrastructure sufficient? What will the impact be for taxis and public transport when bus lanes are being used by thousands of EVs? Can we expect to see a shortage of parking spaces in urban areas where EV drivers can park for free for long periods of time?