Only new or refurbished commercial buildings should install charge points, the DfT says, citing fears over cost

The government has quietly backtracked on proposals to require every shop, office or factory in England to install at least one electric car charger if they have a large car park, prompting criticism by environmental campaigners.

The original plan required every new and existing non-residential building with parking for 20 cars or more to install a charger. However, the Department for Transport (DfT) has now revealed it will only require chargers be installed in new or refurbished commercial premises amid fears over the cost for businesses, according to a response to a consultation.

The move has prompted concern in the car industry and among experts that public charger access will lag behind demand, as sales of electric vehicles accelerate ahead of the 2035 ban on sales of new fossil-fuelled internal combustion engines. A quarter of new cars bought in the UK in November can be plugged in to recharge, according to industry data.

Greg Archer, the UK director of Transport & Environment, a campaign group, said: “Car parks are an ideal place for drivers of electric cars without driveways to charge. By failing to require commercial buildings with car parks to install a small number of charge points, the government has missed a simple opportunity to level up the charging available for less affluent drivers who park overnight on the road.

“It is inexplicable that a government committed to phasing out conventional cars has failed to follow through and implement its own proposals from more than two years ago, and instead say it needs longer to consider the options.”

Read more: The Guardian

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