Electric vehicle (EV) charging legislation for developments in the UK

An overview of how Building Regulations will change in 2022 to ensure the provision of chargepoints in developments in England, along with a summary of the requirements in other parts of the UK.

Last updated: Dec 24, 2021 5 min read

Summary

The UK government has announced that new EV charging requirements will come into force in England in 2022, as part of an overhaul of the country’s Building Regulations.

From next year:

  • Every new home, including those created from a change of use, with associated parking must have an EV chargepoint.

  • Residential buildings undergoing a major renovation which will have more than 10 parking spaces must have at least one EV chargepoint per dwelling with associated parking, along with cable routes in all spaces without chargepoints.

  • All new non-residential buildings with more than 10 parking spaces must have a minimum of one chargepoint and cable routes for one in five (20%) of the total number of spaces.

  • All non-residential buildings undergoing a major renovation that will have more than 10 parking spaces must have a minimum of one chargepoint, along with cable routes for one in five spaces.

At present, no changes have been announced for EV charging requirements for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. A Scottish Government consultation on changes to building regulations, which included proposals for new EV charging requirements, closed in November.

Tip: In November 2020, the UK government announced changes to Buildings Regulations in England to include EV infrastructure requirements. See our blog to learn more about the key considerations for developers.

The objective of EV charging regulations

Last year, the government brought forward the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 to 2035.

To encourage swift uptake the charging infrastructure must develop everywhere we park our cars, slightly ahead of organic demand from drivers.

The government may make some direct investments to seed the market and address any ongoing/potential areas of market failure. However, the government’s view is that most charging infrastructure will be privately funded.

To encourage this, they plan to use the new Building Regulations to ensure adequate charging infrastructure is provided in developments with suitable parking.

    Tip: Requirements for high proportions of charging point provision can exceed the site’s supply. In order to mitigate this, Pod Point offer load balancing solutions which increase the maximum number of chargepoints you can power from a given supply. You can ask our specialist team for advice on your specific circumstances.

    What are the current regulatory requirements for the provision of electric vehicle charging?

    At present there is no UK wide regulatory or legislative requirement for EV charging provision, but several cities and local authorities have their own requirements.

    The leading local policy regarding the inclusion of chargepoints in new developments is the London Plan, with other regional and local planning documents often taking their lead from it.

    The London Plan

    The London Plan acts as the overarching planning guidance for the 32 individual London Boroughs. Since 2011 the London Plan has provided a definition of “active” and “passive” provision of chargepoints in different development types.

    • Active” - “An actual socket connected to the electrical supply system that vehicle owners can plug their vehicle into”.
    • Passive” - “The network of cables and power supply necessary so that at a future date a socket can be added easily”.

    The London Plan requires any developments or major refurbishments that require planning to provide the following.

    Parking for

    Percentage of bays with “active” chargepoint provision

    Percentage of bays with “passive” chargepoint provision

    Residential development

    20%

    20%

    Retail development

    10%

    10%

    Employment uses

    20%

    10%


    This guidance is then interpreted into each Borough’s own planning regime.

    Edinburgh Design Guide

    Perhaps the next most established regulations on the provision of charging infrastructure is Edinburgh City Council’s “Edinburgh Design Guide” (2017), which calls for the following:

    Parking for

    Percentage of bays with “active” chargepoint provision

    Percentage of bays with “passive” chargepoint provision

    Individual house

    0%

    100%

    Residential development with 10+ spaces

    20%

    0%

    Non-residential development with 10+ spaces

    20%

    0%


    Also note that the Edinburgh Design Guide requires rapid charging (50kW) provision for all non-residential developments with 10+ spaces. With each 50kW unit costing circa 30x the cheapest 7kW unit, this measure is controversial, particularly for smaller developments.

    Remainder of the UK

    While there is not a universal, or consistent approach to chargepoint provision, many local authorities have developed their own guidance which is often built on the London Plan model.

    Tip: The approach of mandating proportions of active chargepoints can cause challenges with which bays should receive them, particularly on sites where bays would normally be allocated. For guidance we recommend you speak to our Built Environment team.

    When will the new Building Regulations come into force?

    The next steps for the Buildings Regulations changes are:

    • The Government will lay out the required regulations in Parliament.

    • It has set out an adjustment period of a minimum of 6 months from the date of the laying of the regulations and the new requirements coming into force.

    • Initial/ building notices or full plans submitted within this 6-month adjustment period must begin building work no later than 12 months after the Buildings Regulations come into force, otherwise the new regulations will apply.

    • The outcome of the Scottish Government’s consultation on changes to Building Regulations has yet to be announced.

    Tip: On the current wording, satisfying at least passive provision of chargepoints for 100% of bays may require reinforcing the substation upstream of the development. This may be extremely expensive and cause other issues in the longer term. For advice we recommend contacting the Pod Point Built Environment team.

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