Number plates have changed for electric cars - do you need to do anything with ...

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You may have spotted some cars sporting new number plates with a green stripe or flash on the left hand side. Part of a new Government initiate to make our roads greener, these number plates are now applied to all new electric cars sold - although they can also be fitted retrospectively if you already have a zero emissions car, van, bus or motorcycle. But what does the green rectangle mean?

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From December 8, all new electric vehicles sold in the UK must feature a green bar on the side.

The green box is combined with the Union flag or any other national identifiers.

It is thought the scheme will make it clearer for local councils to spot green vehicles - which may bring benefits such as cheaper parking or exemption from congestion schemes.

In London, electric vehicle owners already benefit from free access to the Capital’s Congestion Charge Zone - although drivers must pay £10 per year and register their electric car to benefit from the exemption.

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Car rules changing: Number plate laws have changed for electric carsCar rules changing: Number plate laws have changed for electric cars (Image: PA)

Car rules changing: Transport Secretary Grant ShappsCar rules changing: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had the plate installed on his Tesla (Image: PA)

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The symbol is being rolled out as part of the Government’s crackdown on carbon emissions.

The measures were first announced in June, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps saying: "Green number plates will help increase awareness of cleaner vehicles on our roads, demonstrating that a more environmentally friendly transport future is within our grasp.”

He added: “A green recovery is key to helping us achieve our net zero carbon commitments while also promoting economic growth."

Mr Shapps was the first to have the plates installed on his car - a £40,000 Model 3 Tesla with self-driving option.

If you already have a zero-emissions vehicle, you can retrofit the green number plates for about £40 from retailers such as Halfords.

The plates

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