Share with your colleagues:

Why isn’t the EV market talking about wayleaves?

Besides much-talked about concerns such as range anxiety and high cost, progress in today's electric vehicle (EV) roll-out is being largely hindered by lack of charging infrastructure. Without wayleave agreements in place, charge points simply can't be installed. So, why is the market not talking about this?

Cast your mind back to 2020, and you might recall the Government unveiling its 10-point plan to cut carbon emissions in the UK. With transport being the largest emitting sector of greenhouse gases – producing 24% of the nation’s total in 2020 – it comes as no surprise that vehicle production has been under increasing scrutiny in recent times too.

To avoid the most serious effects of climate change, an initial ban on new petrol and diesel car sales was announced with an initial 2040 deadline. However, following criticism from green groups over the policy’s alignment with ambitious net-zero targets, this was soon altered to 2030. According to scientists on the Committee on Climate Change, a total ban was needed by 2032 for the UK to meet its decarbonisation goals.

But that wasn’t the last of alterations to the legal agreement. This month, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders lobbied the Government for a delay – warning that sales and jobs would take a significant blow by accelerating the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). As a result, the sale of hybrid cars is currently permitted until 2035.

While it’s encouraging that the roll-out of a more sustainable option to meet our mobility needs is underway, we must be mindful as an industry that there’s still a long way to go. Current targets are undeniably ambitious, and statistics show a market share of just 14.8% for newly-registered battery electric vehicles.

The current state of EV charging infrastructure 

If electric vehicles are to become the standard, the move towards zero emission vehicles must be accompanied by investment in EV charging infrastructure. But to date, the roll-out has been relatively slow across the country. And coverage gaps in areas such as multi-dwelling units (MDUs) mean that the needs of a growing user base are yet to be met. It’s a sorry example of history repeating itself – with the roll-out of gigabit-capable networks presenting much of the same issues over recent years.

What’s more, charging solutions will drastically vary from one property type to the next. A retail forecourt looking to incorporate facilities within existing parking bays will have completely different considerations to a corporate business owner with a large fleet of EVs, for example.

Charge anxiety remains a major concern from a user perspective too. For long distance drivers in particular, a whole host of questions surrounding resource availability arise. Will there be an EV charging facility in the vicinity of where I’m driving? If so, will there be a sufficient number of rapid charging points so I don’t have to wait for one to become free? What if the infrastructure is there, but temporarily out of order when I need it?

There needs to be a convenient and cost-effective option for drivers whose housing arrangements would prohibit them from having a charger installed at home too. For example, residents with no off-street parking available, or buildings with multiple tenants who all require access. A silver-bullet solution simply doesn’t exist.

How early wayleave applications will help accelerate the roll-out 

It is clear that the lack of nationwide charging infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to achieving EV deployment – particularly on the scale envisaged in the Government’s targets.

And in helping to overcome this challenge, investment certainly plays a key role. While there is some funding available on both a national and local level – including the EV Chargepoint Grant and the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI)– charge point operators are increasingly turning to the private sector to help drive pace and innovation.

But deployment isn’t solely dependent on investment – it’s heavily reliant on permissions too. And all too often, commercial clients fail to take this into consideration until a project is already well underway. As a result of this oversight, UK roll-outs are experiencing significant delays, as well as cost increases, and the EV sector can’t grow as rapidly as needed.

It is therefore essential that wayleaves are in place at the earliest opportunity. To ensure applications remain a top priority, Trenches Law provides landowners, housing associations, local authorities, EV providers, and organisations with fleet vehicles all the expert guidance they need.

If you’re keen to continue this conversation, and learn more about the role of wayleaves in driving an EV future, please get in touch. We’re always happy to help.

Or, to hear the latest news and views on this topic, why not follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter?


Hear from our experts

Read more latest news, insights and views from Trenches Law