Rollout of electric vehicle chargepoints to be accelerated

New measures to support electric vehicle (EV) drivers from the Government’s Plan for Drivers launched on Monday 5 February. This included grants for schools, councils, and new proposals to boost chargepoint numbers.

Included within the measures are:

  • Delivering the £381 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund to local authorities across the country – the first capital payments for charging projects have been approved for five local authorities (Bedford, East Sussex, North Yorkshire and the London Boroughs of Hackney and Hounslow).
  • Launching a consultation to seek views on changing legal access for street works carried out by electric vehicle chargepoint operators – the consultation will close at 11:59pm on 12 April 2024.

Other measures also include:

  • Support for greener schools - with a new grant providing as much as 75% of the cost to buy and install chargepoints up to £2,500. Paid for by the Department for Transport, the grant forms part of the Workplace Charging Scheme and is available for state-funded institutions.

The Government also announced that they will shortly consult on removing the 2-metre limitation so that wall-mounted outlets and upstands can be installed anywhere within an area lawfully used for off-street parking.

House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee calls for a ‘rapid recharge’ of the UK’s electric vehicle strategy

The House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee has urged the government to ensure they commit fully to the promise of a successful transition to electric vehicles (EV), stating, the switch is not happening fast enough and major barriers remain.

The Committee issued a list of the key challenges facing the widespread move to EVs and their recommendations to address them. These are:

  • Clear, accurate messaging – the Government should take a more proactive role in communicating a positive vision of the EV transition to consumers.
  • Support for upfront costs – the Government should explore targeted grants for electric cars to support consumers and stimulate the market.
  • Boosting the charging network – the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund should be extended for three years to support local authorities to roll out public chargepoints.
  • Making charging prices fair – recommendation that the Government explores options for equalising the VAT differential between public and domestic charging by reducing the 20% VAT rate applied to public charging to 5% in line with domestic electricity.

The Committee has made their recommendations to the Government, which in turn has two months to respond to the report. Many of the recommendations outlined by the Committee have also been expressed by NFDA to the Government.

Labour scales down on £28 billion a year green spending pledge

On Thursday 8 February, it was announced that Labour would be scaling back its green spending pledge of £28 billion a year which will now be around £4.7 billion per year.

Direct EV pledges which will remain following the announcement include a pledge to spend £2 billion on eight battery factories across the country. There is also a pledge to spend £500 million a year on grants for companies bringing green jobs although Labour has specified that this will not start until 2026.