By Joshua Robinson –
New measures to support electric vehicle drivers from the Government’s Plan for Drivers launched on Monday 5th February, including grants for schools, cash for North Yorkshire Council, and new proposals to boost chargepoint numbers.
Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne launched support for greener schools, 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.
Chargepoints at Schools:
Paid for by the Department for Transport (DfT), 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 schools’ 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 electric vehicle infrastructure grants 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 £14.2m.
North Yorkshire specifically has been awarded £5,375,000 which could support the installation of hundreds of new chargers.
Through the LEVI Capability funding, almost 100 EV officers have been recruited to support chargepoint 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 in 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, with over £5.3m of dedicated funding just for North Yorkshire.”
“Across the country the Government has already spent over £2bn 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 switching 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.
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New laws recently came into force to provide EV drivers with easier and more reliable public charging, mandating that prices across chargepoints are transparent, and 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.
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.”
Permits for Chargepoints:
In addition, the Government launched 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.
These are the second package of measures delivered from the Government’s Plan for Drivers and follow last month’s announcement of a crackdown on disruptive roadworks and better digital information to boost sat-nav accuracy.
To provide further flexibility to individuals and organisations wishing to install EV charging outlets, the DfT 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.
In addition, the on-street residential chargepoint scheme (ORCS) is open to all UK local authorities. Grants are also available to help businesses make the transition through the government’s workplace charging scheme (WCS), as well as people in flats and rented accommodation through the electric vehicle chargepoint grant.