New measures to help the roll-out of EV chargers, including enhanced funding for schools, have been announced by the government.
As well as boosting grants for schools and nurseries in England, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced plans to simplify the planning process for kerbside charger installation and released the first wave of funding for local councils to install more charge points.
As part of its ’Plan for Drivers’ the DfT has increased funding for state schools trying to install charging points for staff and visitors. Schools, colleges and nurseries will now be able to claim 75% of the cost up to £2,500 per device – up from £350 – through the Workplace Charging Scheme.
The DfT said the measures also create the potential for schools to make money by opening up their charge points to members of the public.
Minister for the school system, Baroness Barran, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for schools across the UK 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.”
Today’s announcement also included plans to make it easier for councils and private operators to install on-street chargers. Charger numbers are increasing all the time but, with more than 1 million EVs now on UK roads, there are concerns that the roll-out of kerbside devices needs to accelerate.
A new consultation has been launched on proposals that 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 than licences, reducing costs for operators and speeding up the chargepoint rollout for drivers.
The announcement also confirmed that the DfT has made the first capital payments as part of the £381 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund. The funding will support the installation of thousands of new chargers and hiring of dedicated EV officers to support the process.
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.
“This government has already spent over £2 billion 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.”
Mark Constable, chair of clean energy trade group Recharge UK, commented: “This marks the end of a long period of factfinding by DfT/OZEV and Recharge UK and its members are pleased that the proposed measures recognise the challenges provided by the current arrangements.
“The new approaches under consultation will enable the market to deploy charging much more quickly and at significantly lower cost, from rapid charging to the emerging segment of cross-pavement solutions.”