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According to the Department for Transport, the UK has just 25,927 public electric vehicle charging devices, including 4,923 rapid chargers. Now, the government has announced new legislation that will mean with effect from 2022, new homes with off-street parking and buildings such as supermarkets and workplaces will be required to install electric vehicle charging points. The plans will also extend to such buildings undergoing major renovation. In addition, the new charging points are required to feature “smart” charging devices that can automatically charge vehicles during off-peak periods.
The Competition and Markets Authority has said the UK will need at least ten times the current number of charging points before the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars comes into force in 2030. The government hopes the new legislation will see up to 145,000 new points installed each year.
However, UK housebuilders have condemned the plans, which they describe as a stealth tax on their industry. Richard Beresford, the Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) said: “We support the green industry and a green transition because it is a necessary part of change but due to how infrastructure investment works in practice, once again, the government is seeking to grow its political capital and advance big business, at the expense of the construction industry and taxpayer.”
The NFB has said that to achieve planning permission, builders will inevitably have to fund substations to enable sufficient load to be provided to developments. They say the cost involved can be over £50,000 for just a handful of homes.
Rico Wojtulewicz, Head of Housing at the House Builders Association, the housebuilding arm of the NFB, believes the only winners will be the electricity companies. “The government needs to think very carefully about how it achieves a green revolution,” he said. “It must require electricity companies to shoulder this cost, as they will be profiting from these investments in perpetuity. Or perhaps it is time to bring services into public ownership because the government is not proving able to regulate the sector in a way that doesn’t cost the taxpayer.”
What does seem inevitable is that this extra development cost will be passed on to homebuyers.