Shropshire Star comment: Price the driver to a greener future on the road

The move towards a greener economy is something that most of us can get firmly behind.

A car with a green number plate
A car with a green number plate

While on a global scale the UK is making progress when it comes to tackling pollution from vehicles, the truth is that the shift towards zero emissions needs to speed up

With that in mind, it is hardly surprising that the Department for Transport has started coming up with all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas to reduce our carbon footprint.

The latest plan, however, might need a bit of work before it is thrust into action. As part of a £1.5 billion plan to clean up road transport, ministers are considering giving special licence plates to cars that conform to the highest environmental standards.

Any car with the special ‘green’ plates would then, potentially, be allowed to use bus lanes or benefit from reduced or scrapped parking fees.

The big flaw is that such legislation would penalise people who could not afford electric cars. As things stand, even the cheapest electric cars currently retail for about £20,000, which is not affordable for many people.

Far worse is the likely impact on the environment. While the more well-off drivers cruise down bus lanes in their electric cars, the rest of us would be stuck on gridlocked roads in our gas guzzlers, causing terrible damage to the environment.

Unless electric cars become more affordable, this green scheme could end up having the opposite effect to what is intended.

Prices are coming down, and it is true that the number of electric cars on our roads is growing every day.

And the vast majority of the major vehicle manufacturers are on board with the electric car revolution, which is being spearheaded by this region’s very own Jaguar Land Rover.

In the long run – and largely due to high fuel prices – electric vehicles will undoubtedly turn out to be a more cost effective option.

But with drivers already being hit in the pocket, many would argue that the added expense is too great. By all means bring in the green number plates, but only when the technology is available at a realistic price.

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