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Blog Post 20 May 2021 Updated 26 September 2023

Five steps councils can take to deliver electric vehicle chargepoints

With the 2035 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales, net zero targets and record electric vehicle (EV) sales, pressure is increasing on councils to deliver local charging networks.

As of May 2021, around 24,000 public chargepoints have already been installed across the UK, which is fantastic progress. Many more chargepoints are needed to keep pace with demand and provide everyone with convenient, reliable and affordable charging wherever they live.

For councils, installing EV chargepoints raises numerous questions and very often, there is limited staff time available to evaluate the options.

Through the Local Government Support Programme, Energy Saving Trust offers councils in England impartial advice on charging infrastructure, helping to demystify the process. The programme is fully funded by the Department for Transport and our advice is always free.

Having helped over 80 councils on their journey, we’ve put together a list of steps that councils can take to deliver chargepoints and where we can offer support.


Upskill your team and get your political leadership on board

Your first goal is to build a common understanding among colleagues of electric vehicles, chargepoint technologies and the urgency of action.

You will need to engage and involve teams from across the council, such as energy and sustainability, transport, planning, procurement, parking and streetscape teams. You’ll also need supportive political leadership to realise your plans – find an EV champion if you can.

To support you, we can deliver workshops tailored to your authority’s needs, covering foundational content on EV market trends and types of chargepoints through to specific modules on procurement, for example.


Develop an EV strategy

Whether it’s a standalone strategy or part of a wider net zero or strategic transport plan, consider developing an EV strategy as your next step.

A strategy will set out the priorities for your authority and will bring several benefits, including gaining a better understanding of the scale and pace of investment required, mobilising your stakeholders, and ultimately leading to better procurement decisions.

Many councils are choosing to develop strategies collaboratively through their existing networks, either through informal discussions or a formal partnership.

Once agreed, a strategy will help you monitor progress and manage expectations from residents and other stakeholders.

To help you with this process, we can share best practice, hold a workshop focused on strategy development, and impartially review your draft strategy.


Pursue an ORCS application or other funding opportunities

The £20 million On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) provides grant funding for local authorities to install chargepoints in residential areas without off-street parking.

Energy Saving Trust administers the scheme on behalf of the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV). We provide free advice on preparing an eligible and successful application and offer feedback on draft applications. Following changes in April 2021, you can apply for up to £13,000 per chargepoint installation where connection costs are high and there is an extended timeframe for installation up to March 2023.

Funding from Innovate UK, Defra air quality grants, Local Enterprise Partnerships and, increasingly, the private sector, are also options.

Through the Local Government Support Programme, we can help you to navigate chargepoint ownership modules and procurement routes, and help you identify suitable residential streets for chargepoints.

Whatever approach you take, we recommend that you engage as early as possible in your project with your distribution network operator (DNO), as this will save you time and money.


Learn from other local authorities and share your experience

While every project will have its unique characteristics, there’s a lot to be gained from the experiences of other local authorities, both their successes and lessons learnt.

You can stay informed via the Local Government Support Programme webinar programme and revisit recordings at any time on the LGSP and ORCS web pages. Recent topics include working with your DNO and insights from seven Go Ultra Low Cities.

You can also sign up to our e-newsletter Authority Alert to hear about upcoming events. We have discussions with rural authorities and county councils in the pipeline.

Get in touch if you have experiences to share and would like your authority to feature in one of our webinars, guides or case studies.


Engage with residents and businesses

Engaging with your residents and local businesses should be an ongoing effort throughout your project.

Misconceptions remain about EV technologies. Range anxiety, battery life, environmental benefits, affordability and parking pressures can all be tackled through your engagement plans to help promote the benefits of electric mobility.

We can help you plan and deliver events for local businesses or run a survey for taxi and private hire drivers on their attitudes to EVs and journey patterns, which can inform any planned incentives or licensing policy changes. We are currently expanding our support for SME fleets, so please get in touch to find out more.

Next steps

While delivering charging infrastructure as a local authority can seem daunting at the outset, it’s a great opportunity to put into action your commitment to clean air and a net zero future. Whatever stage you’re at, we’d be delighted to work with you and help you cut through the complexity.

Get in touch

To get in touch, fill in the online form on the Local Government Programme Support webpage.

Start your journey

Last updated: 26 September 2023