Government aims to accelerate EV transition as councils push for more climate powers
The Department for Transport (DfT) has introduced regulations aimed at simplifying and enhancing the electric vehicle (EV) charging process.
The regulations are part of the Plan for Divers initiative and focus on making charging prices transparent and comparable and ensuring contactless payment options at many new public chargepoints.
Moreover, the regulations compel service providers to open up their data, enabling EV drivers to effortlessly locate suitable chargepoints that meet their requirements.
By making this data accessible to applications, online maps, and in-vehicle software, drivers will be able to readily pinpoint chargepoints, assess their charging capabilities, and determine their operational status, thereby enhancing the overall charging experience.
Once the changes are enacted, drivers will be able to access a 24/7 helpline for assistance and find available chargers more easily.
Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Jesse Norman said: “Over time, these new regulations will improve EV charging for millions of drivers, helping them find the chargepoints they want, providing price transparency so that they can compare the cost of different charging options, and updating payment methods.
“They will make the switch to electric easier than ever for drivers, support the economy and help the UK reach its 2035 goals.”
These measures coincide with a 42% year-on-year increase in the country’s public charging infrastructure.
Electric Vehicle Association England’s chief executive officer James Court said: “As the rollout of charging infrastructure gathers momentum, these regulations will ensure quality and help put consumers’ needs at the heart of this transition.”
Local initiatives to accelerate the EV roll-out
In alignment with the Plan for Drivers, the Government is also accelerating chargepoint installation and grant extensions for schools. Local authorities can access funding for additional chargepoints through the £381m Local EV Infrastructure (LEVI) fund. The On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) is also open to all UK local authorities.
In response to the Future of Transport Zero Emission Vehicles consultation, the Government plans to mandate local transport authorities to include EV charging strategies in their local transport plans, ensuring comprehensive infrastructure planning for all regions.
Councils urge the Government for net-zero support
In related news, local councils have urged the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net-Zero, Claire Coutinho, to push the Government to provide increased support for local climate action and maximise the benefits for local communities.
These organisations include the Local Government Association (LGA), the District Councils Network (DCN), County Councils Network (CCN) and London Councils.
Their plea is based on government research indicating that a localised approach can achieve net-zero by 2050 at a significantly lower cost than a national strategy while yielding three times the financial returns and broader benefits.
Local councils exert considerable influence over more than 80% of emissions within their jurisdictions, particularly in areas like housing, transport, and energy.
Despite their pivotal role, councils lack a defined mandate in the Government’s Net-Zero strategy and are currently not provided with consistent funding for local climate action, the groups argue. Instead, they are required to compete for sporadic national funding, which results in resource inefficiency and undermines private investment.
Their plea includes creating a national climate action framework with clear guidelines, policy, regulatory consistency up to 2050, alongside milestones, and a well-defined role for councils in leading local climate initiatives.
Additionally, they seek stable core funding for all councils to support their climate action efforts within their services, multi-year place-based funding to drive local decarbonisation, and facilitation of increased private investment in local climate action.
Furthermore, the councils are advocating for the introduction of a local climate action test. This test would ensure that all government policies and funding decisions, spanning housing, skills, and other areas, contribute meaningfully to local climate action, thereby enhancing the overall effectiveness of net-zero efforts.
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