The government yesterday outlined planning changes to allow local councils to build electric vehicle charging points and parking spaces more freely.
Ministers are announcing their intention to allow charging points to be built on streets and in outdoor car parks without the need for planning permission.
Councils should be “at the forefront of an electric car revolution”, said the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). It is urging councils to promote electric vehicle charging points in new developments, without making developments unaffordable.
“Planning rules have to catch up with car technology. At a stroke, we remove the bureaucracy.”
Greg Clark, decentralisation minister
Ministers said people will embrace new technology if they are given the right support by central and local government, through building more charging points across the country in order to increase the mass market appeal of electric vehicles.
Decentralisation minister Greg Clark said: “It’s no good having an electric car if there’s nowhere to charge it up, so planning rules have to catch up with car technology.
“At the moment planning permission is required for a charging point, but not for a parking meter. We’ll change that so charging points will no longer need planning permission. That way, at a stroke, we remove the bureaucracy.”
The government believes this will build on the launch of eco-friendly car grants, available to green motorists from this month. The Plug-In Car Grant will reduce the cost of eligible cars by a quarter, up to a maximum of £5,000.
Communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles said politicians have “failed to address people’s aspirations to own cars”.
“With 84% of journeys made by car, instead of pointlessly penalising drivers we want to make it easier for car owners to make greener choices on the road,” he said. “People … need their politicians to catch up and bring in the infrastructure that makes it a feasible option.
“We are today urging councils to include charging points in new developments.”
Eric Pickles, communities and local government secretary
“We are today urging councils to include charging points in new developments, and the government will relax the need for planning permission for electric charging points on streets, walls and in car parks.”
The government also announced changes to national planning policy this week designed to ease drivers’ parking woes. Limits on car spaces for new homes are being abolished, Pickles and transport secretary Philip Hammond said.
Ministers are removing national planning restrictions put in place in 2001 that required councils to limit the number of parking spaces allowed in new residential developments and set high parking charges to encourage the use of alternative modes of transport.
From now on, councils and communities will be free to set parking policies that are right for their areas, said DCLG.