Green number plates for EVs prompt privacy warning

Green number plate on electric car

Proposals to introduce green number plates giving special benefits for electric car drivers have met with criticism from the Surveillance Camera Commissioner. It has highlighted implications for privacy, given the role of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems to identify the green plates on the road.

ANPR is currently in use in bus lanes, car parks and on motorways. It’s used in policing and regulating use of these areas – and to deter misuse. EVs with green number plates could get ‘local privileges’, including the use of bus lanes, access to EV-only parking and more.

However, there are concerns, as cited by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, that this could involve ‘an unqualified extension of the role of ANPR’.

Concerns around ANPR with green number plates

‘Limited evidence was presented that car drivers want green number plates or that it is for the benefit of society. Therefore, the legality was questioned,’ says the report.

There are also concerns that green number plates could cause issues in terms of car cloning. Could some drivers counterfeit ‘green’ status to take advantage of the privileges? 

The report continues: ‘This leads to a greater risk to the national ANPR system regarding the potential of more cloned plates on the road… The process of getting green number plates should therefore be tightly controlled’.

green car number plate

The Department for Transport’s consultation on the issue closed last month. Draft plans are expected by the end of the year, along with new legislation that will allow green plates to go ‘online’. 

“Green number plates are a positive and exciting way to raise awareness and support the uptake of electric vehicles on our roads,” said a DfT spokesperson.

“The public consultation has now closed and we are analysing responses.”

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