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Plan for Drivers will help accelerate rollout of EV chargepoints

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05

Feb '24

New measures from the government’s ‘plan for drivers’ have been launched today (5 February 2024) and will mean electric vehicle (EV) owners benefit from easier and more convenient access to chargepoints.

Grants for schools, cash for councils and new proposals will help boost chargepoint numbers. Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne will launch support for greener schools in Nottinghamshire today, with a new grant providing up to 75% of the cost to buy and install chargepoints, up to £2,500 per socket, up from the previous £350. 

Paid for by the Department for Transport, the grant forms part of the Workplace Charging Scheme and is available for state-funded schools, colleges, nurseries and academies to boost the chargepoint facilities for staff and visitors. This could also help schools to generate revenue by making their chargepoints available to the public.

The school’s grant is for state-funded schools and education institutions, which must have dedicated off-street parking facilities – applications can be made online. Independent schools may apply for funding through the Workplace Charging Scheme and the Electric vehicle infrastructure grant for SMEs. 

The government is also 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 to three local authorities from East Sussex to North Yorkshire, and two London boroughs, bringing the total funding for these areas to more than £14.2million. The funding will support the installation of thousands of new chargers, ensuring the rollout continues at pace to support drivers in every area of the country.

Through the LEVI capability funding, almost 100 dedicated EV officers have been newly recruited to support charge point procurement. To aid local authorities in building a skilled workforce and delivering their charging projects, the government is also launching the electric vehicle infrastructure (EVI) training course for their officers, which will open to all local authorities from mid-March following a successful trial. 

Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne said: “We’re getting on with delivering our Plan for Drivers, and this latest set of measures will mean EV owners everywhere benefit from easier and more convenient access to chargepoints. 

“This government has already spent over £2billion to ensure a smooth switch to EVs, and we’re committed to supporting drivers as we transition towards net zero in a proportionate way that doesn’t burden working people.”

More and more drivers are making the switch to electric vehicles, with fully electric vehicles accounting for over 16% of the new UK car market in 2023, according to industry statistics. The number of plug-in vehicles in the UK has also risen to over 1.2 million, of which 770,000 are fully battery-electric, meaning more and more drivers are making the switch.

New laws recently came into force to provide EV drivers with easier and more reliable public charging, mandating that prices across chargepoints are transparent, easy to compare and that a large proportion of new public chargepoints have contactless payment options. This comes as over 53,000 public chargepoints have been installed across the UK, demonstrating the progress that has been made in the switch to electric. 

Minister for the School System and Student Finance at the Department for Education Baroness Barran said: 

“This is an exciting opportunity for schools across England to become part of an ongoing move towards a greener public sector. Schools engaging with this grant will be supporting the development of green infrastructure, helping to improve their local environments.

“Developing a greener education estate is a key element of our sustainability and climate change strategy. The expansion of this grant supports our ambition to improve the sustainability of our schools in the ongoing move towards net zero.”

In addition, the government is today launching a consultation to look at ways to speed up chargepoint installation across the country. The proposals would give EV chargepoint operators the right to carry out street works using a permit rather than a licence. 

Permits can be issued much faster, taking days instead of months, and are significantly cheaper to obtain than licences, reducing costs for operators and speeding up the chargepoint rollout for drivers.

While the consultation runs, a new good practice guide has been published by the government to improve consistency in processing licence applications across different areas. 

To further deliver on its Plan for Drivers’ commitments, the government have published a list of common questions and answers on the transition to EVs, including battery range and chargepoint availability across the country.

To provide further flexibility to individuals and organisations wishing to install EV charging outlets, the government 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.

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