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How telecoms wayleave agreements can help the UK’s net zero mission

As the UK Government continues to push towards net zero by 2050, we turn our attention towards infrastructure. Playing a pivotal role in our green future is the rise of electric vehicles (EVs). According to OFGEM, the demand for EVs is going to increase by 24% between now and 2025.

This translates to 18 million EVs and hybrids on the road by 2030. While this is encouraging for the UK’s green agenda, it puts enormous pressure on nationwide infrastructure.


The state of the UK’s EV charger network

To support this significant increase in EVs, we need 300,000 public chargers on the road. At present, the UK is lagging behind at just 10% of this – 30,000 chargers. 

The good news is that the UK Government is listening. As outlined in our guest blog with Geldards’ Hélène Maillet-Vioud, the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme has now been introduced. This will fund local authorities to help them offer on-street charging. Meanwhile, the UK has also introduced a Rapid Charge Fund to roll out 6,000 rapid chargers by 2035.

But despite these in-roads, the Government’s plans could be hindered by slow processes. Similar to the digital divide in Britain, this will inevitably hit rural areas the hardest.


What telecoms can teach us about the new EV charging roll-outs

Similar to a full fibre broadband installation project, charging point installations will face significant legal setbacks. At the time of writing, around 20 to 30% of all broadband network projects require wayleave requests, ensuring all stakeholders are informed about changes to the land.

These projects encounter the same issues as EV charger installations, for example:

  • Permission required to install cables on private land
  • Navigating multiple layers of ownership and proprietary interests
  • Disrupting complex grid connection works
  • Securing approval from local residents
  • Assessment of environmental impacts.

Each of these issues is a potential stumbling block to the successful roll-out of new EV chargers. In tandem, investors may be concerned about the upfront costs and the timescales. This is why it’s so important to have a streamlined, efficient wayleave process.


How automation can help the UK’s EV charger goals

A solid wayleave agreement helps to speed up negotiations and simplify complex processes. There may be multiple layers of stakeholders involved, from the Land Registry to local residents, and automation helps to keep all of these informed. 

Trenches Law offers an automated wayleave agreement system which takes the pain out of these processes. This reduces the need for manual intervention and also decreases the risk of human error. By drawing out digital maps of build phases and identifying wayleave stakeholders, it can assure visibility from the outset.

This allows EV installers time to focus on their supplier relationships rather than handling manual tasks. With the relevant information at their fingertips, installers can manage ongoing dialogue, access reports and issue statutory notices.

Automation helps to break this down into agile processes, focusing on marginal gains throughout the project. Rather than prioritising speed, it aims for efficiency – running multiple tasks simultaneously.


Building a better future

Digital transformation is centred around automation, helping to speed up processes and maintain compliance. It’s ideal for ambitious projects such as the UK’s EV charger roll-out. At Trenches Law, we have seen it time and again with telecoms companies – such as Ogi’s £200 million altnet broadband project.

While telecoms may be a world away from electric vehicles, the core principles remain the same. We need speed, agility and visibility to get projects over the line – all while managing costs and stakeholder expectations.

Managing Director Sharon McDermott says: “Wayleaves are often an incredibly complex and time-consuming process, and there’s no question that if the EV sector is to grow at the speed it needs to, these agreements must be in place. 

“We have a collective responsibility to care for our environment and we’re determined to utilise our knowledge to support landowners, housing associations, local authorities, EV providers and organisations with fleet vehicles to complete applications and drive towards a greener future.”

Read more in Trenches Law’s automation guide for telecoms operators.

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