Call for electric car charging points to be planning policy

An electric car charging point in the Greenwell Lane car park in Alnwick.
An electric car charging point in the Greenwell Lane car park in Alnwick.

A call has been made for an obligation to be put on developers to provide electric car charging infrastructure.

The county council says that it is looking at including requirements on these lines for larger residential and commercial developments in the new Local Plan, but this is not likely to be adopted until the summer of 2020.

Presenting a report on the issue at last week’s North Northumberland Local Area Council, Coun Martin Swinbank, chairman of Alnwick Town Council’s planning committee, said that it had to be an obligation otherwise developers would ignore it and that leaving it to the Local Plan would leave a significant number of schemes to come forward in the next two years without any infrastructure.

But Liz Sinnamon, from the council’s planning department, said that including it as a policy in the Local Plan was the only real way of ensuring that ‘it has teeth’ and can be enforced.

Coun Swinbank’s paper highlights that in August 2017, plug-in electric vehicles reached a 2.1 per cent market share of new vehicle registrations – a 49 per cent increase in sales year on year, a trend that looks set to continue amid air pollution and climate emission concerns.

It adds: ‘We believe it is now time to ensure that infrastructure being built today has electric charging provision or at least passive provision – the cables and power delivery capabilities present, ready for charging points to be installed later.’