With the Government rumoured to be changing planning policy so that all new homes are built with electric vehicle (EV) chargers, the question to ask is, who is going to pay for it?
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) said: “We support the green industry and a green transition because it is a necessary part of change but due to how infrastructure investment works in practice, once again, the Government is seeking to grow its political capital and advance big business, at the expense of the construction industry and taxpayer.”
The NFB has been raising the cost and fractious nature of mandated EV charger policy since 2017 and included it in every consultation response it was applicable. Sadly, yet again, the concerns of small and medium sized business have fallen on deaf ears.
The major concern for this new taxation policy is that to achieve planning permission, constructors are required to fund substations so that electricity companies can provide enough load to new and old developments. These costs are considerable – upward of £50,000 for a handful of homes – and it is neither the builder, nor homeowner who profits from this infrastructure, it is the electricity companies who achieve revenue in perpetuity from someone else’s investment.
There is also the concern that the type of charger being installed will not meet future grid or EV charging standards and therefore the NFB has been telling the Government to standardise EV charging infrastructure and grid strategy before mandating a solution which will require mass retrofitting.
Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing at the House Builders Association (HBA), the housebuilding arm of the NFB, said: “This Government has only been in power for two years and has already introduced four new and stealth taxes on the construction industry. EV charging will be the fifth. It’s a disgusting way to treat a sector who worked throughout the Covid-19 lockdown to help pay for furlough and the impact of Covid-19.
The Government needs to think very carefully about how it achieves a green revolution. It must require electricity companies to shoulder this cost, as they will be profiting from these investments in perpetuity. Or perhaps it is time to bring services into public ownership because the Government is not proving able to regulate the sector in a way that doesn’t cost the taxpayer.
As we told the Prime Minister during COP26 in relation to retrofitting and onshore renewable energy, it is time the Conservatives began risking some of their own political capital and not simply expecting taxpayers and business to risk their financial capital. The Governments green legacy is looking like taxation and flawed policy, not revolutionary change.”
The NFB wants outcomes which help meet our climate targets and these can only be achieved with deliverable solutions. The NFB recently discussed this in relation to political capital because without coherent policy positions and a skilled workforce, any money put forward by tax payers will not be optimised to its maximum potential.