Boris Johnson confirms mandatory EV charging points for new buildings in England

The mandate will apply to new homes three years sooner than originally envisioned under the Future Homes Standard

Johnson delivered a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) today (22 November), where he made the announcement. 

The mandate will apply to developers of new residential housing, office blocks and retail sites, as well as to the developers of renovations where there are ten or more parking spaces.

An exact implementation date is set to be confirmed following consultation. To support SMEs in meeting the requirements, a new three-year loan programme with a £150m funding pot will be operated through Innovate UK.

The UK Government estimates that the requirement will prompt the installation of up to 145,000 extra charging points each year through to 2030 – the point at which the national ban on new petrol and diesel car sales will come into effect.

It has been known for several years that rates of current and planned charging point installations in the UK are being outpaced by the growth of the nation’s EV stock. The 2020 Budget saw Chancellor Rishi Sunak reveal that the government was developing plans to ensure that EV drivers are never more than 30 miles away from a rapid charging point, amid a growing body of evidence that there is a “postcode lottery” for charging infrastructure in the UK.

Speaking at the CBI event, Johnson said: “This is a pivotal moment – we cannot go on as we are. We have to adapt our economy to the green industrial revolution.

“We have to use our massive investment in science and technology and we have to raise our productivity and then we have to get out your way.”

“We must regulate less or better and take advantage of new freedoms,” he added, alluding to Brexit.

Before this announcement, developers of new homes were preparing for charging infrastructure mandates from 2025, under the Future Homes Standard.

Johnson confirmed that the Department for Transport (DfT) is also set to announce plans for making public charging points more accessible for those wishing to charge away from home. MPs have repeatedly urged the implementation of simplified payment systems and greater consumer protections for public charging points, as well as appropriate competition measures for this rapidly expanding sector.

Additionally, Highways England announced plans to invest £11m in battery energy storage systems at service stations this decade, to assist with the uptake of EV charging points in areas where grid constraints can hamper installations. 

The news comes days after a project working to map out the future of EV charging infrastructure in the UK’s rural regions, trialling solutions in Devon, received grant funding from Innovate UK.

Industry reaction 

The Energy Networks Association’s director of external affairs Ross Easton said: “This is great news for those living in new homes, but we must make sure access to charging points is not exclusive – charging points must be accessible to everyone. To truly ‘level up’ charging point access and deliver on the COP26 electric vehicle pledges requires strategic planning at all levels of government, nationally and locally.”

Eversheds Sutherland’s head of UK transport Dominic Lacey said: “The EV charging network needs a huge stimulus that goes beyond ‘on-the-go’ charge points across our roads and highways. Boosting charging availability through planning and building control for new and refurbished commercial and residential sites is a logical step. However, access to cheap and convenient EV charging remains a social and infrastructure challenge for the bulk of traditional urban sites, which lack the capacity, facilities and space to support multi-EV charge points.”

Energy Saving Trust’s group head of transport Tim Anderson called the announcement “important”. He said: “This is a pivotal moment in the decarbonisation of transport and a significant step towards ensuring charging infrastructure is accessible for all. Today’s pledge demonstrates the government’s commitment to build on the ambition of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and pledges made at COP26.”

The REA’s transport policy manager Jacob Roberts said:“Making sure as many people as possible are able to charge at home is key to ensuring that the full cost-saving benefits of EVs are spread fairly across society. Installing EV chargers during building construction is cheaper and less disruptive than retrofitting them later, particularly for shared and communal car parks. This approach will also go a long way to ensuring that grid connections are futureproofed to accommodate the recharging requirements of tomorrow’s EV users.

“However, this is only the tip of the iceberg, and our focus now needs to turn to the existing housing stock, particularly for blocks of flats, rental properties and leasehold properties, where higher costs and complex approval processes need to be overcome.

“We must also continue to develop a network of cost-effective and convenient public charging infrastructure for those living in properties without off-street parking. The REA are aiding the Government as they develop new grant supports targeted at installing EV chargers in such settings. Lastly, increasing the accessibility of charge points will be immaterial if we cannot improve the affordability of electric vehicles too. The REA have long argued for ZEV mandates in the UK and hope that the Government will bring forward these regulations as soon as possible.”

Sarah George

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