Designing for Change: EV Usage

Our Associate Planner, Robert Wilson attended a conference run by PDQ, regarding the increase in electrical vehicle usage and promotion and the implications that this could have for planning policies and design moving forward. This will have implications for all forms of new development in the future and more imminently over the next 7 or 8 years Impact Planning Services can offer advice to clients about how their schemes will need to be designed, both in terms of layout and individual buildings.

This was organised by a collaboration of organisations with a collective interest in development and the economy. These include: Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors, SEMLEP, Parkway Construction, David Coles Architects and others.

There is a clear government emphasis on the transformation of the transport sector, this includes bringing the date forward when fossil fuel cars will no longer be sold to 2030. Transport is now the most significant impact on our emissions since 2018 overtaking energy supply as the crucial and easiest route to decarbonise and reduce the nations emissions.

The latest market share noted that 15% of new vehicles purchased were all electric and forecasters predicts that there will be a rapid increase from 2021 to 2030. Electric vehicles (EV) are proving to be an attractive option for UK drivers due to the reduced running costs and low emission benefits over traditional fuel. Widespread availability of EV charging is critical in facilitating the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles and securing the Government’s net zero carbon targets.

Permitted Development and Building Regulations

The UK government encourages the use of EVs by providing funding towards the cost of installing an electric charging point at a residential property, known as the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS).

Schedule 2, Part 2, Class D and Class E of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) introduced permitted development for the installation of homeowner charging points as long as the area is lawfully used for off-street parking.

An additional pivotal driver in the increase of EV charging is the proposed changes to Building Regulations which will require charge points to be included in new residential and commercial developments, as well as some existing commercial properties.
Whilst charging EVs at home is the most probable choice for consumers there are current constraints on the grid during peak hours. There is a clear need for improvements in the network to implement this as a long-term solution.

Policy Focus

The requirement for public charging points and infrastructure is already influencing planning policies. Planning policies facilitate the future growth and development of a place. Long term planning strategies should incorporate policies that facilitate the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles.

The National Planning Policy Framework states that new development should “be designed to enable charging of plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles in safe, accessible and convenient locations”.

This is infiltrating into Local Plan Policy. The Local Plan (Part 2) in Nottingham setting out requirements for charging points in new developments and In Swindon, the Borough Council have approved a new Parking Standards document which would require housebuilders to provide a minimum of one Electric Vehicle Charging Points (EVCP) per home where there is a requirement for parking spaces. New retail developments would also be required to provide EVCPs in 10 per cent of parking spaces with the option for extending this to a further 10 per cent of bays. And new employment developments would be required to provide a minimum of two EV spaces or 20 per cent, whichever is the maximum, for car parking associated with work uses.

Charging points would be secured as part of planning conditions and, where developments are being built close to public car parks, developers may be asked to make a contribution towards the EVCPs in public car parks.

EV Charging Points in Milton Keynes

In parking provision parking spaces with electric vehicle charging points should be of a safe and practical design and conveniently located. Electric vehicle charging points should be provided for both standard parking spaces and spaces for disabled badge holders. Where electric vehicle charging points are not to be provided for all parking spaces within a development, appropriate ducting / cable routes should be provided to all spaces, together with areas where charging points can be installed, so as to allow spaces to be retrofitted with a charging point in the future.

Parking spaces with rapid charging equipment should be time limited (e.g. to less than 1 hour), with appropriate signage provided. Where parking spaces with electric vehicle charging points are provided in public car parks, signage should be provided to advise drivers of how the charging points operate. If the car parking is located in a conservation area or close to a listed building, the design and location of equipment and signage should have regard to its surroundings and be of a sensitive design.

installation of charging points and associated infrastructure must be carried out in accordance with the most up to date version of ‘Code of Practice for Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installation’ written by IET Standards, as well as other applicable documents, including ‘Approved Document P: Electrical safety – dwellings and Electricity at Work Regulations HSR25, BS7671:18th edition (2018). Charging points with public access must be available to use on a ‘pay as you go’ basis, without the need to pre-register. Firmware should be compliant with the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP).

On larger developments, the power supply required for the number of charging points to be provided (and to be provided in the future as demand increases) may be significant and therefore needs to be considered at an early stage when planning a development. Load management, battery storage or providing additional power supply to the development may need to be considered. It should be noted that charging units are now available that have integrated batteries and therefore these may provide a solution in some circumstances.

Millions of people in the UK are expected to switch to electric cars over the next decade and although electric car ownership is rising, Ofgem says that as many as 36% of households that don’t plan to get an EV are putting off doing so due to lack of access to charging points. EV charge points are increasingly relevant to all new developments and should be a key consideration of all new development proposals.

Impact Planning Services can provide advice and guidance in all developments about how EV charging can be integrated with the scheme. Please get in touch via our web site, e-mail or phone.