UK promises action on charging rollout

Government’s new 30-point plan largely makes for depressing reading. But there is a chink of light on charging

UK promises action on charging rollout
UK transport minister Mark Harper

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak and his government have extended their electoral tactic aimed at making motoring part of a depressing ‘culture war’ narrative with new policies that support supposedly put-upon drivers’ “freedom to use their cars and curb over-zealous enforcement measures”. It is as dismal as it sounds.

But, perhaps mindful of the eye-rolling of those disbelieving of Sunak’s ‘war on motorists’ narrative — tired already after just a few months — the government has thrown in some welcome policy related to improving charging infrastructure. It may read somewhat like an afterthought, but it promises potentially useful legislation nonetheless.

EV inFocus will not demean its readers with the gory non-EV details of the new plan. It will just highlight a couple of points.

The UK government believes it can win voters by opposing 20 miles/hour speed zones. So transport minister Mark Harper will consult on measures including the removal of local authorities’ access to data from the issuer of UK’s driving licence to enforce such schemes by camera.

The UK government does like targeting unacceptable vehicle modifications and clamping down on roadside littering — nothing wrong with that. But it aims to improve enforcement by… rolling out more cameras.

Charging boost

The transport ministry does, though, promise its new plan will review the grid connections process for EV charge points, with the aim of accelerating it. And it will also consult on measures to speed up the approvals process for installation of charge points.

In particular, if perhaps somewhat oddly, it aims to provide dedicated, targeted support for schools to install charge points, using existing grants. And it will widen eligibility of EV charge point grants to include cross-pavement solutions — to try to make EV ownership a more practical option for those without off-street parking — as well as providing guidance on the use of safe cross-pavement solutions.

Finally, it will consult on the expansion of so-called ‘permitted development rights’ — where owners can make alterations to their properties without going through a formal planning process — to try to make private charge point installation “cheaper and easier”.

The Sunak administration also suggests it will “work with industry to myth-bust concerns about EVs”. Given the overall tenor of the government’s plans, the UK e-mobility sector could be forgiven for doubts over whether its partner is genuinely committed to this promised co-operation.

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