The Government has recently proposed new legislation which will see all newly built UK homes with designated car parking spaces fitted with electric car charging ports as standard.
This is part of a wider strategy by the UK government to reach zero net emissions by 2050 - called the ‘Road to Zero’ policy – in June, the UK became the first major economy to legislate to reach this target. With transport accounting for an estimated 33% of CO2 emissions, the new proposal could go some way to helping the UK achieve this goal.
At present, people who do own electric vehicles generally charge them at home, but unless you have a suitable socket in a garage or other outbuilding, the thought of dangling wires out of windows is enough to put off all but the most dedicated eco-warriors.
This move by the Government could make charging electric cars much more accessible, and will hopefully encourage more people to take the plunge and move away from traditional fuels. There are also discussions regarding the installation of charging points inside street lamps, making them available to those who have on-street parking rather than private driveways, with payment for access made through either a pay-as-you-go or a monthly subscription-based pricing plan.
The Department of Transport announced this week that it will provide an extra £2.5m of funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in residential streets, bringing the Government’s total investment since 2017 to £5m. Transport Secretary Grant Schnapps claims this new funding will enable local authorities across the UK to collectively install more than 1,000 on-street electric vehicle charging points, which will help boost uptake of electric vehicle use among those without off-street parking.
What do the changes mean for housing developers?
But what will the new proposals mean for housing developers? There will be an additional consideration and cost which will need to be factored in when developments are being planned, and care will need to be taken to ensure that the requirements are being followed. The full proposal document is available on the Government’s website.
For developers, however, a key takeaway from the proposal is the Government’s recognition that there will be additional costs from installing charging points in areas which may need significant reinforcement of their electrical capacity. The good news is that the Government is looking at ways to mitigate the negative impact of these costs; for example, by waiving the requirements to install such charging points when the grid connection costs are higher than £3,600 per unit.
Car charging ports are not the only new eco-friendly measure which developers will have to think about going forward. Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP has recently announced that wildlife friendly measures such as ‘hedgehog highways’ (CD case-sized holes) should be added in to the garden fencing for new build homes to allow hedgehogs to roam freely. This comes after a petition by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society gathered over half a million signatures from members of the public concerned for the fate of the nation’s favourite animal. The new guidance on how house builders should be doing more to protect wildlife, including hedgehogs, is available on the Government’s website.
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