In a major bid to try and move drivers away from petrol and diesel cars, Boris Johnson announced in November, that electric vehicle charging points will have to be installed in all new buildings from 2022 as part of his carbon slashing plans.
The new legislation making it compulsory to install electric vehicle charging points will apply to new homes and non-residential buildings such as offices and supermarkets. Buildings undergoing large-scale renovations which leave them with no more than 10 parking spaces will also be subject to the measures.
Fresh from the COP26 climate change summit, Boris Johnson revealed in a speech at the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) annual conference in the north-east of England, plans briefed as “world leading”, to toughen up regulations for new homes and buildings.
It is hoped that the new regulations will lead to up to 145,000 extra charge points being installed each year in the run up to 2030 when the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will come to an end in the UK.
Boris Johnson said:
"UK sales of EVs (electric vehicles) are now increasing at 70 per cent a year, and in 2030, we're ending the market for new hydrocarbon ICEs, internal combustion vehicles, ahead of other European countries."
The hope is that charging an electric vehicle will become as easy as filling up with fuel.
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This move is another step towards reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Increasing investment in the infrastructure needed to facilitate a transition to electric vehicles was just one of the elements of the wide-ranging Net Zero Strategy document published by the UK government in October.
Boris Johnson said:
“We are investing in new projects to turn wind power into hydrogen and our net-zero strategy is expected to trigger about £90 billion of private sector investment, driving the creation of high wage high skilled jobs as part of our mission to unite and level up across the country.”
Boris Johnson believes that the country is at a pivotal moment saying that: “We cannot go on as we are.”
He told business leaders that it shouldn’t just be public spending that is used to “adapt our economy to the green industrial revolution”, but that the government will focus on science and technology, raise productivity and “then get out of your way”.
The UK government defended the new requirements stressing the importance of regulating less or better and taking advantage of new freedoms. It wants to lead global efforts in the transition to net zero in order to help the economy recover from the pandemic.
On the other side of the political divide, Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, accused the government of failing the UK’s automotive companies and workers.
“Ministers have stepped back and left manufacturers, workers and the public on their own, failing to take the action necessary to make the switch affordable for families hit by a cost-of-living crisis. By extending the help to buy an electric car for those on lower and middle incomes and accelerating the rollout of charging points in areas that have been left out, would ensure that everyone could benefit and make the green transition fair.”
Only time will tell whether the current UK government has done enough at this time.
The government is also supporting a new loan programme worth £150m, distributed by Innovate UK over three years, to help UK small and medium-size enterprises commercialise their latest research. The “innovation loans” will be accessible to a variety of sectors, including green businesses and follow a pilot with businesses.
Almost 26,000 publicly available electric vehicle charging devices have been installed so far in the UK, including 4,900 rapid ones. However, the Competition and Markets Authority have estimated that more than 10 times that number will be needed by 2030. A total of 250,000 points have already been put in place in homes and workplaces.