New legislation announced by Boris Johnson will require new homes and buildings, such as supermarkets and workplaces, to install electric vehicle charge points from next year.
Under the new regulations up to 145,000 extra charge points will be installed across England every year before 2030 when the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will end in the UK. This will significantly increase the current 250,000 home and workplace charge points the government has already supported to date.
It is thought that charging will become as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car, as people will be able to buy properties with ready-installed charge points allowing the majority of charging to happen at home, in addition to at supermarkets and workplaces. As well as new homes and non-residential buildings, those undergoing largescale renovations with over 10 parking spaces will be required to install electric vehicle charge points.
After consulting with industry, the Government will also be going further to make it easier and simpler for people to go electric, by introducing simpler ways to pay whilst travelling, such as contactless, at all new fast and rapid charge points.
Announcing the new laws at the Confederation of British Industry’s conference on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“The force driving that change won’t be government, it won’t even be business…it will be the consumer. It will be the young people of today, who can see the consequences of climate change and will be demanding better from us.”
But Labour flagged concerns over the announcement calling the disparity between available charge points in the North and South of the country an “appalling” geographical divide.
“London and the South East have more public car charging points than the rest of England and Wales combined. Yet there is nothing here to help address this. Nor is there help so lower and middle income families can afford electric vehicles or the investment required to build the gigafactories we need,” said a Labour spokesperson.
Friends of the Earth’s head of policy, Mike Childs, has however welcomed the government’s announcement, adding that electric vehicles had a “significant role to play in building a zero-carbon future“, as cars and taxis accounted for 16% of UK emissions in 2019.
“New housing should also include secure cycle storage and access to high quality public transport, to provide real alternatives to driving and help cut congestion,” Mr Childs also said.
Amongst the concerns raised about the announcement, the Policy Exchange think tank has warned of a lack of charging infrastructure, stating that the rollout of charging points has fallen behind and that there is a real risk of “charging blackspots” in small towns and rural areas.
MPs on the Transport Select Committee have also warned that people must be protected from excessive pricing for public electric car charging.
In addition to the news on increased charging points, the government also confirmed an investment of almost £10 million to support a new hydrogen project at the UK’s largest onshore windfarm near Glasgow. The Whitelee green hydrogen project will develop the UK’s largest electrolyser, a system which converts water into hydrogen gas as a way to store energy and supply local transport providers with zero-carbon fuel.
Developed by ITM Power and BOC, with ScottishPower, Whitelee has the potential to store and produce the equivalent of enough green hydrogen to fuel over 200 bus journeys travelling between Glasgow and Edinburgh each day.