Electric Vehicle Charge Points – the key takeaways for commercial landowners from the Government’s consultation response

The Government has published its consultation outcome on electric vehicle (“EV”) charge points in residential and commercial property. This has become a hot topic in recent times as the Government pushes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

In the commercial property market, we’ve already witnessed landowners getting ahead of the curve with the installation of EV charge points to attract high-calibre tenants, charge premium rents and increase yields.

Now the Government is rolling out an EV infrastructure strategy across the UK and intends to lay the required regulations in parliament before the end of 2021. For commercial landowners, the impact is that the following new measures will be introduced for all new and existing commercial buildings:

  1. All new commercial buildings being constructed with more than 10 parking spaces within the site boundary of the building are to have a minimum of one EV charge point and cable routes for one in five of the total number of spaces.
  2. All existing commercial buildings that are undergoing a major renovation and which will have more than 10 parking spaces within the site boundary after renovation is complete, are to have a minimum of one EV charge point and cable routes for one in five of the total number of spaces.

The charge points installed are to have a minimum charging power of 7kW, be at least Mode 3 or equivalent and be untethered.

Similar measures are being introduced for residential and mixed-use properties as the Government works to decarbonise England’s transport system and make EVs a key part of the UK’s future energy system.

When will the regulations take effect?

The Government has announced that there will be an adjustment period of no less than 6 months between the laying and the coming into force of the regulations, during which properties which have their initial/building notices or full plans deposited will not be legally required to meet the regulations.

Properties that have their initial/building notices or full plans submitted in this adjustment period must however begin building work by no later than 12 months after the date the regulations come into force, otherwise the new regulations will need to be met.

Are there any exemptions?

The Government will introduce some exemptions, but these mainly apply to residential rather than commercial property. The main exemption that will apply to commercial property is the exemption for major renovations where the cost of the required infrastructure exceeds 7% of the total cost of the renovations.

To see the full list of exemptions then click here to access the Government’s consultation response:

Consultation response: EV Charge points in Residential and Non-residential Buildings (publishing.service.gov.uk)

What should commercial landowners do now?

Commercial landowners need to be alive to these regulations and ensure that EV infrastructure is factored into their development plans and costings.

For any new sites or major renovations at existing sites, if full development plans are not ready to be drawn up and deposited within the 6 month adjustment period and works are not started within 12 months after the date the regulations come into force then commercial landowners will be bound by the new regulations if an exemption does not apply.

Further, EV charge points amount to a “development” under planning acts so planning advice should be sought early. Landowners should check the terms of their insurance policy to ensure EV infrastructure works are covered by their existing policy and check their electricity supply to ensure they can meet the Government’s proposed minimum charging powers.

Commercial landowners should also be looking at and future-proofing their commercial leases. If they haven’t already, they should ensure that provisions are built into their leases to cover EV infrastructure including: the rights for the tenants to use EV charge points; the allocation of EV charge points between tenants; how costs are recharged; who is responsible for repairing and maintaining the EV charge points; and any rights of access the landlord needs in connection with EV infrastructure.  

For any further advice in connection with this topic or any other commercial property matter, please contact Clare Strachan on 01256854674 or [email protected]