The government’s Plan for Drivers will include grants for schools, cash for local authorities, and new proposals to boost charge point numbers.
As part of the launch, technology and decarbonisation minister Anthony Browne announced support for greener schools in Nottinghamshire, with a new grant providing up to 75% of the cost to buy and install charge points, up to £2,500 per socket, up from the previous £350.
Paid for by the Department for Transport, the grant forms part of the Workplace Charging Scheme and is available for state-funded schools, colleges, nurseries, and academies to boost the charge point facilities for staff and visitors. This could also help schools to generate revenue by making their charge points available to the public.
The schools’ grant is for state-funded schools and education institutions which 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 grant for SMEs.
The UK government is also delivering the £381m 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. The funding will support the installation of thousands of new chargers, ensuring the rollout continues at pace to support drivers in every area of the country.
Through the LEVI Capability funding, almost 100 dedicated EV officers have been newly recruited to support charge point 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 be open to all local authorities from mid-March following a successful trial.
“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 charge points,” said Browne.
More and more drivers are making the switch 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.
New laws recently came into force to provide EV drivers with easier and more reliable public charging, mandating that prices across charge points are transparent, easy to compare and that a large proportion of new public charge points have contactless payment options. This comes as over 53,000 public charge points have been installed across the UK, demonstrating the progress that has been made in the switch to electric.
In addition, the government is launching a consultation to look at ways to speed up charge point installation across the country. The proposals would give EV charge point 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 charge point 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.
To provide further flexibility to individuals and organisations wishing to install EV charging outlets, the UK government will shortly consult on removing the two-metre limitation so that wall-mounted outlets and upstands can be installed anywhere within an area lawfully used for off-street parking.