Government doubles funding for on-street EV charging
The Department for Transport (DfT) has today (12 August) announced that it will provide an extra £2.5m of funding for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure on residential streets, bringing its total investment since 2017 to £5m.
Transport Secretary Grant Schapps claims that the new funding will enable local authorities across the UK to collectively install more than 1,000 on-street EV charging points. Such points, the DfT claims, will help boost EV uptake among those who do not have off-street parking.
The new funding builds on the DfT’s existing on-street residential charge point scheme, which launched in 2017. To date, the scheme has helped 16 councils collectively install more than 1,200 charging points.
However, the Department claims that local authorities’ appetites for installing new EV structure has now begun to outstrip its initial investment – particularly in light of the Government’s new net-zero goal for 2050. Moreover, recent research from The Guardian concluded that around one-quarter of local authorities across England and Wales has paused the expansion of local EV charging networks, largely over funding concerns.
“It’s fantastic that there are now more than 20,000 publicly accessible charge points and double the number of EV charge points than petrol stations, but we want to do much more,” Schapps said.
“It’s vital that EV drivers feel confident about the availability of charge points near their homes, and that charging an electric car is seen as easy as plugging in a smartphone.”
Zero to hero?
The allocation of the new funding forms part of the Government’s Road to Zero strategy – a £1.5bn plan aimed at supporting a national transition to a zero-emission road transport sector.
The 46-step plan details how the funding will be split between research, development and infrastructure, while re-iterating the Government’s plan to ban new petrol and diesel car sales in 2040.
It also sets an interim target of ensuring more than half of new car sales and 40% of new van sales are ultra-low emission by 2030. A £400m fund for companies wanting to improve their charging infrastructure was also introduced to help improve the UK’s charging infrastructure.
While then-Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the Strategy would make the UK “world-leading” in the field of low-carbon transport, the likes of WWF, IPPR, the Aldersgate Group and even the Government’s own climate advisor – the Committee on Climate Change – have expressed concerns that it is not ambitious enough.
Specifically, criticism was directed at the DfT’s decision not to bring the ban on petrol and diesel car sales forward, and its failure to outline what EV grants will be available after 2020.
Transport it widely viewed as the Achilles heel of the UK’s decarbonisation. It overtook the power industry as the most carbon-intense sector in 2016, and saw its emissions rise by 2% last year, with the main source of emissions deriving from the use of petrol and diesel, as overall emissions fell for the sixth consecutive year.