Electric vehicle charging infrastructure will be mandatory for many new and renovated homes and commercial buildings in England, under ground-breaking commitments announced by the government.
The proposals, a “vital step towards decarbonising England’s transport system”, are contained in the Consultation response: EV Charge points in Residential and Non-residential Buildings issued this week.
The implications for property developers, landlords, local authorities, energy stakeholders and consumers will be significant. In this legal insight we consider the proposals in more detail.
What are the key measures proposed?
Every new home, including those created from a change of use, with associated parking within the site boundary to have an EV charge point.
New residential properties with more than 10 parking spaces (e.g. a block of flats with parking) to have at least one EV charge point per dwelling and cable routes in every space without charge points.
Residential buildings undergoing major renovation, which will have more than 10 parking spaces within the site boundary after the renovation, to have at least one EV charge point for each dwelling with associated parking and cable routes in all spaces without charge points.
All new non-residential buildings, with more than 10 parking spaces within the site boundary, to have a minimum of one EV charge point and cable routes for one in five of the total number of spaces.
All non-residential buildings, undergoing a major renovation, which will have more than 10 parking spaces within the site boundary after the renovation, to have a minimum of one charge point and cable routes for one in five spaces.
The requirement for cable routes is to ensure that charge points can be installed easily and cheaply in the future, if required.
How is the required number of charge points at residential buildings calculated?
The requirement is one charge point per dwelling, not one per parking space.
If a new home has an associated parking space, it must have a charge point provided.
If a new residential building has more than 10 parking spaces it must have at least one EV charge point per dwelling. Charge points do not need to be provided in every space in this case, but cables routes need to be in all spaces without charge points.
What constitutes a ‘major renovation’ of a building for the purposes of the proposals?
The consultation is not explicit, but gives an example of renovation of over 25% of the building’s surface area, including parking areas. It appears we will have to await the detail in the regulations.
What about mixed-use developments?
In mixed-use developments, the requirements for residential and non-residential buildings need to be applied separately as per the number of allocated car parking spaces for different use types.
Are draft regulations available at this stage?
Not yet. The Government says it intends to publish them later this year, along with the Approved Document setting out more detail on the requirements.
When will the new regulations come into force? Will developers need to comply immediately?
An adjustment period will apply between the publication and coming into force of the new building regulations. This is intended to allow developers and others to prepare for the new regulations before their requirements are in force.
Various exemptions to the requirements are proposed, including the following:
New residential buildings where the installation of charge points would increase grid connection costs by more than £3,600 per charge point. It is anticipated that cable routes will still be required.
Buildings undergoing change of use to create homes where:
- the building is listed, in a conservation area or in a schedule of monuments which the charge point infrastructure would unacceptably alter; or
- the existing power supply can only accommodate fewer than the required number of charge points.
Residential buildings undergoing major renovation where:
- the building will not have more than 10 parking spaces within the site boundary after the renovation is complete;
- infrastructure costs exceed 7% of the total cost of the major renovation of the building;
- the existing power supply can only accommodate fewer than the required number of charge points; or
- the property is undergoing major renovation for the purposes of fire safety remediation (so as not to burden such properties with further increased costs).
New non-residential buildings where the building will not have more than 10 parking spaces within the site boundary after the renovation is complete.
Non-residential buildings undergoing major renovation where:
- the building will not have more than 10 parking spaces within the site boundary after the renovation is complete; or
- infrastructure costs exceed 7% of the total cost of the major renovation of the building.
We will need to await the detail of the regulations to see exactly how the exemptions will operate.
Was there anything in the original consultation which will not be put in place?
The consultation proposed a requirement for one charge point in all existing non-residential properties with more than 20 parking spaces. This proposal will not be implemented. The Government says it believes a more tailored approach is needed for existing non-residential properties and says it will work to introduce an alternative policy.
Will charge points need to meet certain standards?
Yes. The consultation proposes requirements including a minimum power rating of 7kW. The government will also require all private charge points to be smart.
These proposals are a game-changer for EV charging infrastructure in England, and by consequence EV adoption and the decarbonisation of the transport system as a whole.
It’s hugely positive to see the government grasp the need for significant action on the climate and use the policy tools at its disposal to force a market-wide change that will drastically increase the number of charging points available and go a long way to eliminating any lingering doubts consumers may have over the accessibility of charging infrastructure for EVs.
Developers and other stakeholders will need to keep themselves informed of the changes and will no doubt await the publication of the detail in the regulations with anticipation. Housing developers are likely to have to incur significant additional costs to comply with the new requirements, particularly in larger schemes where increased grid connection costs could be significant yet not trigger the £3,600 per charge point exemption.
Electrifying road transportation is one of the key challenges to reaching net-zero and today’s announcement is a significant step forward on that path.