EV strategy: rapid recharge needed Contents

Summary of conclusions and recommendations

Chapter 2: Strategic approach and public messaging

1.The Minister told us that the Government was concerned about misinformation and the Director of Transport Decarbonisation at the Department for Transport stated that there had been a “concerted campaign of misinformation” about EVs in recent months. This echoed concerns from a broad range of witnesses, from individual members of the public to car manufacturers. (Paragraph 27)

2.The Government’s concern at the scale of misinformation, however, has not been matched by commensurate urgency in tackling it. A joint consumer information campaign between Government and industry that was praised by several witnesses was ended in 2021. We heard the decision to end the campaign was led by a belief that EVs were moving into the mass market, and misconceptions were dissipating. This is not supported by the evidence we received. (Paragraph 28)

3.The Government should take a more proactive and leading role in communicating a positive vision of the EV transition to consumers, and promoting comprehensive, clear, authoritative, accurate and balanced information. The Government should develop a communication strategy in collaboration with industry partners and consumer organisations to provide clear, authoritative and trustworthy information. This could build on previous successes such as the Go Ultra Low website. (Paragraph 29)

4.We welcome the Government’s commitment that the central Government car fleet will be zero emission by the end of 2027. (Paragraph 30)

5.To communicate this commitment more visibly, all cabinet members should be driven in EVs by the end of 2024. (Paragraph 30)

6.The challenges involved in the EV transition cover a wide range of departments and policy areas, and joined-up cross-Government coordination is essential. The Government must also work closely with industry to monitor progress in the uptake of EVs and the rollout of charging infrastructure. Unfortunately, we heard persistent concerns about a lack of consistent cross-Government progress on interdependent policy areas, and delays to major projects. (Paragraph 38)

7.The Government should focus first on

(a) targeted actions that can be taken now to remove simple blocks in the system such as amending planning and waste management regulations and accelerating delays to the rollout of public chargepoint funding schemes, then

(b) setting out the actions that will be taken over the next 10 years of the transition in order to map out a long-term approach.

This roadmap should be published to enable scrutiny and support consumer confidence. (Paragraph 39)

8. We welcome the Minister’s commitment to monitor cross-Government work on the EV transition closely, and advise the Secretary of State and Prime Minister if changes to coordination structures are required. However, we heard strong calls for this to happen now. (Paragraph 40)

9. OZEV must be resourced as a delivery unit within Government to achieve this and/or a new body such as a Ministerial Taskforce should be set up to provide direction for the wide range of Government departments, sectors and stakeholders involved. (Paragraph 41)

Chapter 3: Acquiring an EV

10. The UK EV market remains concentrated around high value cars (costing over £40,000) and SUVs. Unless the market changes to offer more affordable options to consumers, the Government’s objective of mass ownership of EVs will not be met. This must also change to avoid issues caused by the trend towards heavier SUVs, including excessive road wear and typically higher embedded emissions in production. As set out in further detail below, this change may be enacted through investments in UK production, fiscal incentives to bring price parity at the more affordable end of the market, or taxation on heavier vehicles. The Government should keep the trend towards SUVs under review and consider what measures may be necessary to counteract it given its many negative consequences. (Paragraph 61)

11. By the end of the decade, a broader range of affordable EVs should become available to UK consumers. The growing import of cheaper Chinese EVs will help in this regard, providing more options to consumers and stimulating competition in the market. However, in the longer term the UK must avoid reliance on foreign imports, which are currently mainly Chinese, to support mass ownership of EVs. This is important for the UK’s economy, strategic priorities and net zero targets. (Paragraph 62)

12. We welcome recent announcements on new investment in the UK’s car manufacturing industry. This is positive news for British jobs as well as for the environment. Strong domestic strategies on electric vehicle and battery production will be essential to support further UK EV production and the circular economy. We welcome the recent publication of the Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Plan and Battery Strategy. (Paragraph 63)

13. The Government should provide a progress update on the Advanced Manufacturing Plan and Battery Strategy by summer 2025. (Paragraph 63)

14. The Government must accelerate the rollout of the UK’s EV charging infrastructure which is essential in giving UK consumers the confidence to choose smaller, more affordable EVs, which typically have smaller ranges. We discuss this in further detail in Chapter 4. (Paragraph 64)

15. There is currently an insufficient range of affordable EVs, and price parity between EVs and ICE vehicles has not yet been reached. The growth in EV uptake, originally driven by early adopters and corporate fleets, is stalling as upfront cost barriers put EVs out of reach of the majority of drivers. (Paragraph 72)

16. The Government’s stated aim is to support “mass ownership” of EVs. Yet unlike other major European markets, the Government has removed incentives to support consumers with upfront purchase costs. (Paragraph 73)

17. The Government should explore targeted grants to incentivise the purchase of EVs with a view to facilitating a list price under an appropriate threshold. This would stimulate the affordable market, support the move to price parity and help counteract the trend towards SUVs which have broader environmental costs. These incentives should be accompanied by an exit strategy for when and how they should be tapered; this should only be as price parity is reached. (Paragraph 74)

18. The majority of EVs entering the second-hand market will be the higher value cars and SUVs favoured by corporate fleets and early adopters. As such, even at second-hand prices they are out of reach of most consumers. (Paragraph 83)

19. The Government should review the schemes that other countries, including Scotland and the Netherlands have implemented to incentivise the purchase of second-hand EVs, evaluate their outcomes and explore whether similar schemes could be offered in England and Wales. (Paragraph 83)

20. Consumer confidence in the second-hand market is also currently being undermined by uncertainty and concerns about EV battery health. We welcome industry’s work to develop a ‘battery health standard’ that would give confidence to consumers. (Paragraph 84)

21. The Government should accelerate its collaboration with industry to develop a ‘battery health standard’ that is objective and reliable. (Paragraph 84)

22. The EV leasing market has performed well, and salary sacrifice and benefit in kind incentives have been successful. (Paragraph 92)

23. Low benefit in kind rates should be retained, though as with all other financial incentives, the Government must plan for how they will be tapered and exited. (Paragraph 92)

24. We heard some concerns about price volatility in the second-hand market and particularly the impact this may have on the leasing market. If used electric vehicle prices continue to drop, leasing companies will raise leasing charges for consumers—potentially making them less attractive than leasing ICEs despite the big fiscal incentives for electric vehicle leasing. The second-hand market remains immature and we would not recommend that the Government make any intervention now to prevent used prices dropping further. (Paragraph 93)

25. However, Government should monitor prices, and assess whether the leasing market continues to work well for consumers. (Paragraph 93)

26. It is crucial that the Government considers road taxation alongside other fiscal measures taken to drive EV uptake, giving consumers a clear and consistent steer on future total motoring costs. As the UK transitions away from petrol and diesel vehicles, road taxation will need to be fundamentally redesigned, including issues like road pricing. (Paragraph 104)

27. We support the conclusions of the House of Commons Transport Committee’s January 2022 report that comprehensive reform of road taxation is needed, to start an honest conversation with the public and work towards a system that is seen as fair and enjoys public acceptance. We note the urgency of this has only increased in the intervening two years. In response to this report, the Government should urgently provide a progress update on work in this area. (Paragraph 104)

28. L-category and micromobility vehicles (such as e-scooters) may make a small but important contribution to the EV transition, particularly in urban areas. However, uptake is being held back by insufficient safety regulations around both their manufacturing and use. (Paragraph 113)

29. In response to this report, the Government should confirm whether it has abandoned previous plans to legislate in this area, and if so why. (Paragraph 113)

30. Car clubs may make a limited but important contribution to the EV transition, and constitute an important part of a broader modal shift in transport use. While private car ownership will likely remain the default mode of car use for some time, for those who require occasional car use they present a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly alternative. Car sharing will likely become increasingly significant as the Government looks to legislate for the future of autonomous vehicles. We welcome the credit for car club vehicles included in the ZEV mandate. To support car clubs further, the rollout of chargepoints must be accelerated. We discuss this further in Chapter 4. (Paragraph 118)

31. Even at current upfront prices, the lifetime costs of an EV (to the driver) are likely to be lower than ICE equivalents overall (with present road and fuel taxes). Nevertheless, there are several factors Government should address to reduce these lifetime costs further. (Paragraph 125)

32. To ensure maintenance costs remain reasonable, there must be a sufficient number of skilled mechanics trained to maintain EVs. While EVs generally have lower maintenance costs, any skills shortages among mechanics may mean more expensive services for consumers. (Paragraph 126)

33. In line with the communications campaign we call for, the Government must now provide policy certainty and consistent messaging to give car maintenance workers the confidence to invest in upskilling. (Paragraph 126)

34. We expect data on EV safety and the cost of repairs to improve as the EV market matures, and help lower insurance premiums. However, consumers understandably need clarity and reassurance about the safety of new technologies in order to confidently choose EVs. As we set out in Chapter 5, greater regulatory certainty over batteries is needed to support industry and waste management facilities—this should also provide added certainty for consumers and the insurance industry. (Paragraph 127)

Chapter 4: EV charging

35. A lack of confidence in the charging infrastructure is commonly cited as the most or second most significant obstacle for consumers alongside the upfront cost of EVs. Infrastructure must be rolled out ahead of demand to give consumers the confidence to make the switch to EVs, but the UK’s chargepoint infrastructure is lagging behind need, and is contributing to consumer anxiety. The Government’s target is an advisory ambition, and we are concerned there is currently an insufficient sense of urgency to meet the scale of the challenge. (Paragraph 134)

36. Progress in rolling out public charging infrastructure is highly variable across the UK, with rural areas particularly at risk of having insufficient infrastructure. The Government told us it was considering new powers to issue instructions to local authorities in areas without enough chargepoints. (Paragraph 144)

37. We recommend that the Government introduce these new powers urgently and use them to direct local authorities in areas where there are fewer than 50 public chargepoints per 100,000 people to prepare EV strategies. This will help to ensure a more evenly distributed chargepoint rollout. (Paragraph 144)

38. Lower-powered, on-street AC charging involves cheaper installation for operators, less demand on the grid, and cheaper prices for consumers. Ensuring that the rollout of on-street charging proceeds rapidly, while taking account of broader issues such as pavement access and safety, is essential to provide fair and equitable access to charging across the UK. (Paragraph 149)

39. The ORCS continues to enable a number of small-scale but important installation projects. However, considerable delays to the application process have risked limiting wider success. (Paragraph 155)

40. The Government should continue the ORCS alongside the LEVI Fund enabling targeted support for smaller discrete projects. In response to this report, the Government should set out what actions it has taken and will take to ensure that application and implementation processes are not undermined by delays in future. (Paragraph 155)

41. The LEVI fund is welcome, but the slow pace of the rollout has significantly undermined progress and frustrated investment. The Government should set and communicate clear timelines and deadlines for the scheme and provide sufficient time for application preparation. (Paragraph 166)

42. The Government should set and communicate clear timelines and deadlines for the scheme and provide sufficient time for application preparation. (Paragraph 166)

43. We heard from a range of stakeholders that current guidance for applications to the LEVI Fund is not sufficient, particularly around the best approach to expenditure at a given site. We also heard that the guidance and training provided through the LEVI Support Body has been useful and that it should be continued throughout the lifetime of the project. (Paragraph 167)

44. The capability funding as part of the LEVI Fund is welcome, but we heard that it does not cover the additional functions and resources that local government needs in order to deliver EV infrastructure projects. (Paragraph 168)

45. The Government should consider widening the scope of the capability funding to cover other essential functions, such as legal and planning teams. (Paragraph 168)

46. The Government should also investigate options for building on the LEVI Support Body to address skills shortages. The Government should consult local authorities about what guidance and training they need as part of the LEVI scheme and seek to adjust the offer accordingly.(Paragraph 169)

47. The scheme is due to end in 2025, but we heard that an extension would allow local authorities to plan more strategically and adopt self-sustaining approaches. (Paragraph 170)

48. We recommend that the scheme is extended for a further three years and that the Government refine its focus to target areas that are falling behind with chargepoint infrastructure delivery. (Paragraph 170)

49. Destination charging, including at supermarkets, hotels and workplaces, is convenient for consumers and can reduce reliance on but not replace on-street residential charging. (Paragraph 179)

50. The Government’s advisory targets for the public chargepoint rollout depend on a high proportion of workplace charging. However, the number of workplace and other forms of destination chargepoints is currently not monitored. This means that nobody knows if a crucial pillar of the Government’s EV Infrastructure Strategy is keeping pace with expectations. (Paragraph 180)

51. We recommend that the Government monitor this important element of the charging rollout. (Paragraph 180)

52. We welcome the Government’s scheme to support workplace chargepoint installation but heard that the scheme is not well utilised and uptake is slow, suggesting it is not adequately publicised. Additionally, the growth in privately funded workplace charging infrastructure is not monitored and so the overall picture is unclear. (Paragraph 181)

53. In response to this report, the Government should set out its assessment of how the market-led rollout of workplace charging is progressing, and on what basis it is confident that this is sufficient to end direct subsidy through the Workplace Charging Scheme in April 2024. The Government should also set out its assessment of how the market-led rollout of other forms of destination charging is progressing. (Paragraph 182)

54. The Government should gather comprehensive data on the availability of workplace chargepoints and consult on mandating workplaces with designated car parking spaces and more than a certain number of employees to install chargepoints using the grant. (Paragraph 183)

55. We welcome the targeting of private chargepoint grants to drivers and residents in situations where securing chargepoint installation is more challenging and where the private sector is unlikely to deliver chargepoint provision. However, we heard that awareness of these schemes is low. (Paragraph 189)

56. The Government should explore ways to publicise and raise awareness of available schemes through the public information campaign we call for in Chapter 2 of this report. (Paragraph 189)

57. Some tenants and leaseholders experience significant delays in obtaining a chargepoint. They often have limited bargaining power to request chargepoint installation in their residences where landlords are reluctant. (Paragraph 190)

58. The Government should consult on offering a ‘right to charge’ for tenants and leaseholders in multi-occupancy buildings to address landlord reluctance. Given the delays experienced by tenants seeking permission to install a chargepoint, the Government should extend the deadline for the grant scheme for landlords and tenants. (Paragraph 190)

59. Consumers need confidence that they will be able to charge their electric vehicle, no matter how long their journey. Yet the Government has missed its target to have at least 6 high powered chargepoints at each motorway service area in England by the end of 2023. The Rapid Charging Fund is designed to support the delivery of rapid and ultra-rapid chargepoints at motorway service areas at a reasonable cost to consumers but has experienced significant delays. While we welcome the recent announcement of a pilot fund and consultation on the design of the scheme, there has been a concerning lack of progress nearly four years after the Fund was announced. (Paragraph 198)

60. Progress in this area must be accelerated urgently. In response to this report, the Government should confirm its revised deadline for meeting its motorway service area chargepoint target. The Government should also periodically review this target and publish its findings to ensure it keeps pace with the number and category of electric vehicles on the roads. (Paragraph 199)

61. In allocating funds from the Rapid Charging Fund, the Government must ensure that these are distributed according to need across the Strategic Road Network. There is a risk that motorway services areas are prioritised over the wider strategic road network which includes important A roads, especially now the Government is behind on its motorway service area target. When opening applications to the Rapid Charging Fund, the Government must make clear its criteria on how funds will be allocated. (Paragraph 200)

62. The installation of chargepoints is a national priority. But planning and other associated regulations are holding back progress. Simplified and standardised planning processes are needed, whereby these overlapping regulatory processes can be satisfied in a single step. We are pleased to hear that OZEV is considering the development of unified consent processes to streamline the various consents required for planning and permitting.(Paragraph 205)

63. We recommend that the Government publish its plans as early as possible to support infrastructure rollout. We set out in further detail below the aspects of planning regulation that should be reviewed as part of this process. (Paragraph 205)

64. Pavement cable gullies may be a solution for a limited number of households, offering access to charging immediately outside the home and at domestic energy prices—which are currently cheaper than public charging and are already being explored in some areas of the country. However, it is essential that these do not threaten the accessibility or safety of the pavement. Some local authorities may understandably be hesitant about granting permission due to a lack of clarity about the necessary planning permissions and liability for hazards. The laying of cables across the pavement, in addition to confusion around who has the right to use the adjoining parking space, could create tension in local communities and careful communication and management by local authorities will be required. (Paragraph 209)

65. We welcome the Government’s stated intention to provide guidance on the use of cross-pavement solutions and urge this to be published as soon as possible. (Paragraph 209)

66. We welcome recent updates to the Permitted Development Rights (PDR) for chargepoint installation in England and Wales. However, we note that restrictions remain around chargepoint height which are inhibiting deployment. We heard that the Scottish government’s relaxation of the height restriction in its updates to Permitted Development Rights in Scotland has had a significant impact on accelerating the rollout. (Paragraph 213)

67. The Government should review permitted development rights as they relate to chargepoint installation and launch a consultation that considers additional PDR for taller chargepoint installations and the installation of solar canopies. (Paragraph 214)

68. We heard that the Traffic Regulation Orders required to label parking bays as “EV-only” are causing significant delays in the delivery of chargepoint infrastructure. Though the Government launched a consultation into simplifying and streamlining the process for acquiring a Traffic Regulation Order in March 2022, it has yet to publish a complete response. (Paragraph 217)

69. The Government should publish its full response to the consultation as soon as possible. (Paragraph 217)

70. We heard that application of Section 115B of the Highways Act 1980 to chargepoint installation is a major barrier to local authorities keen to progress with the rollout of infrastructure. It is time-consuming and establishes a disproportionately high threshold of consent relative to standard consultation processes. The concerns of residents and businesses must be heard and taken into account, but too many otherwise viable projects risk being stopped entirely where sensible mitigations achieved through consultation could provide a solution. This Section was not designed to apply to chargepoints and should be reviewed. (Paragraph 220)

71. We recommend that the Government review Section 115B to determine whether it is fit for purpose as it applies to chargepoint installation and, if necessary, use the earliest legislative opportunity to amend the legislation to prevent further delays. (Paragraph 221)

72. We welcome the Government’s updates to the building regulations which require all new developments with parking, and existing developments that are undergoing major renovation, to be fitted with chargepoints. However, these updates do not address obstacles to installing chargepoints in multi-occupancy buildings or buildings with designated parking for which chargepoint installation has been slow and difficult. While mandating retrofitting of these buildings with chargepoints may not be a proportionate step now due to associated costs, the Government should keep the potential for retrofitting multi-occupancy buildings under review. (Paragraph 225)

73. The Government should consider amendments to the Part S regulations following OZEV’s review of fire risks from chargepoints, to allow for installation in covered parking areas in new buildings. (Paragraph 225)

74. Home charging at all speeds currently offers significant cost benefits over petrol refuelling, and much of the slower public charging infrastructure is also cheaper. The Government should make this clear to consumers as part of the public information campaign that we are calling for. However, there is more that can be done to further bring costs down to incentivise consumers to make the switch including changes to energy pricing and VAT rates as discussed in paragraphs 236 and 243. This will be particularly significant for rapid and ultra-rapid charging, where the cost of charging remains high relative to petrol. (Paragraph 232)

75. Recent electricity price fluctuations have affected consumer confidence in the cost benefits of EVs. As EV uptake increases, EV owners will be more exposed to the cost of electricity. (Paragraph 236)

76. We reiterate our recommendation following our inquiry into the Boiler Upgrade Scheme that the Government review options for weakening the link between the price of wholesale gas and electricity through electricity market reform in order to reduce the cost of electricity for EV owners. (Paragraph 236)

77. We received near-unanimous support for the equalisation of VAT rates between domestic and public charging. While VAT is not the only component affecting the difference in electricity pricing between domestic and public chargepoints, it is a lever that is available to the Government to address the price disparity. Our analysis suggests that VAT equalisation could improve the affordability of public chargepoints by bringing prices down to (a) roughly the same as petrol and diesel prices for rapid and ultra-rapid chargepoints, and (b) significantly below petrol and diesel prices for on-street slow-to-fast chargepoints. (Paragraph 242)

78. We recommend that the Government explore options for equalising the VAT differential between public and domestic charging by reducing the 20 per cent VAT rate applied to public charging to 5 per cent in line with domestic electricity. As part of this, the Government should model the amount of revenue that would be lost by the Treasury, and explore options for recovering this in line with the holistic bonus-malus approach to taxation we call for in Chapter 3. (Paragraph 243)

79. We heard concerns about a lack of regulatory clarity holding back the widespread deployment of smart charging. (Paragraph 249)

80. We recommend that the Government’s interim review of the EV Smart Chargepoint Regulations 2021 is brought forward to 2024, and takes into account their interaction with the Measurement Instrument Regulations 2016 to ensure any potential conflicts are resolved as soon as possible. This is essential to give industry confidence and ensure any need for expensive retrofitting of outdated chargepoints in future is avoided. (Paragraph 249)

81. The Committee heard that smart charging and vehicle-to-grid technologies are very promising, nascent technologies that could both reduce costs for consumers and balance demand on the grid as more low-carbon technologies such as heat pumps are connected to the grid. (Paragraph 253)

82. We recommend that the Government explore what more can be done to integrate these technologies into EV infrastructure rollout and to ensure consumers have access to these cost-saving measures. (Paragraph 253)

83. We welcome the Public Charge Point Regulations 2023, which recognise the centrality of chargepoints being accessible and user-friendly to a successful rollout. However, we encourage the Government to explore how these Regulations could go further to support consumers, especially as the transition and chargepoint technology continue to evolve. (Paragraph 262)

84. The Regulations should be reviewed by Summer 2025 at the latest. As part of this review, the Government should consider incorporating the Public Charging Charter and the targets of the FairCharge campaign into regulations. (Paragraph 262)

85. Effective communication with drivers about the location and availability of chargepoints will be essential to reducing range anxiety. (Paragraph 263)

86. We recommend that in the next review of the Regulations the Government consider mandating ‘totem signs’ on motorways at the approach to service stations with EV charging facilities. (Paragraph 263)

87. The success of the Public Charge Point Regulations 2023 will be contingent on enforcement. (Paragraph 264)

88. We recommend that the Government ensure the Office for Product Safety and Security is sufficiently resourced, or considers moving oversight of these important Regulations to a body or Department working more closely on EV uptake, to ensure that there is effective enforcement and that the Regulations deliver improved consumer confidence. (Paragraph 264)

89. Wider availability of contactless payment on the low powered chargepoint network could simplify and support chargepoint access for consumers. However, witnesses suggested the costs of installing contactless payment modules on the low powered network are significant compared to the cost of the installation and mandating this may risk either fewer chargepoints being installed, or costs being passed on to the consumer. We note that as technology continues to evolve and the industry matures, the costs of installing contactless payments may decrease. At a moment of opportunity for the UK’s charging network, we must avoid installing technology that becomes obsolete and must be retrofitted. (Paragraph 268)

90. We recommend that the Government ensure contactless payment provisions of the 2023 Regulations are re-examined as part of the regular wider review of the Regulations we are calling for. (Paragraph 269)

91. We heard that the British Standards Institute Guidance on accessible charging (PAS 1899) provides good standards for making chargepoints accessible. It is crucial that those with disabilities can use public chargepoints. However, it may not be practicable for all chargepoints at every site to meet these standards, and imposing this would risk jeopardising the rollout. (Paragraph 273)

92. Instead, we recommend that chargepoint hubs over a certain size should be required to have a proportion of accessible chargers available that meet these standards. (Paragraph 273)

93. We welcome recent announcements to improve queue management for transmission projects and to speed up the time needed to build new transmission infrastructure. However, these still do not allow for strategic prioritisation of low-carbon or renewable energy projects ahead of other energy generation. In order for the positive environmental impact of EVs to be maximised, they need to be powered by low-carbon energy generation on the grid. The UK should be seeking to decarbonise the grid as quickly as possible, and prioritisation of low-carbon projects would assist in that process. This would also underpin the decarbonisation impacts of a wide range of other policy changes including the transition to heat pumps and the electrification of industrial processes. (Paragraph 284)

94. We recommend that the Government designate low-carbon and renewable energy generation projects as strategically important net zero projects and fast track their progress through permitting and grid connection to achieve a decarbonised electricity grid as soon as possible and to support consumer confidence in EVs as a low-carbon technology. (Paragraph 285)

95. We welcome the recently announced Connections Action Plan and urge the Government to move quickly to implement the crucial changes to address the delays currently experienced in the queue for grid connections. We recommend that the Government considers how best to prioritise EV chargepoints in the queue as projects of strategic and national importance. (Paragraph 292)

96. We recommend that the Government considers how best to prioritise EV chargepoints in the queue as projects of strategic and national importance. (Paragraph 292)

97. We note the changes made to the RIIO price control to allow for more anticipatory investment and emphasise that this additional investment is essential to support chargepoint deployment at pace. However, we heard concern that this may still be insufficient. (Paragraph 301)

98. We recommend that the Government consult Ofgem and industry to identify opportunities to increase anticipatory investment in grid upgrades for the distribution network to future-proof local grids for the EV transition. (Paragraph 302)

99. We recommend that the Government define and label grid upgrades to support chargepoint installations as ‘Nationally Critical Infrastructure’ projects and prioritise the grid upgrades needed to deliver EV infrastructure. (Paragraph 303)

100. The Committee heard that under current planning regulations, the full planning and land rights process is triggered even for small amounts of upgrade work. This process can be further delayed if landowners do not reach a negotiated settlement. All of this can add significant delays to relatively straightforward upgrade work. (Paragraph 306)

101. We recommend that the Government review the planning regulations for the upgrade of power lines and simplify the process where possible to speed up upgrades, particularly in rural communities while still ensuring proper protection of the environment and heritage. (Paragraph 307)

102. We heard that DNOs and other stakeholders such as local authorities and chargepoint operators could benefit from improved data sharing, online tools to support the planning and permitting process and more pro-active engagement between DNOs and customers. (Paragraph 313)

103. The Government should explore what more it can do to facilitate this, for example by expanding on the support and guidance currently available through the LEVI support body. (Paragraph 313)

Chapter 5: EV end-of-life management and recycling

104. While the UK’s capacity for EV dismantling is currently sufficient, this is expected to change rapidly as EV numbers rise with predictions that capacity could be exceeded withing 2–3 years. (Paragraph 321)

105. We recommend that the Government continue working with the Environment Agency and the recycling sector to explore options for speeding up planning and permitting processes for new treatment facilities. (Paragraph 321)

106. The Committee heard that at present, despite the unique handling that lithium-ion batteries require in terms of waste management and recycling, they do not have their own waste code and currently sit under a non-hazardous waste code with other batteries. Lithium-ion batteries ending up in general waste streams are a problem for the recycling industry and can lead to increased risk of fire. We recommend that the Government works with the EU to agree that lithium-ion batteries be assigned a hazardous List of Wastes code to support the reporting and management of the risks and to ensure that recycling is undertaken by responsible operators. (Paragraph 322)

107. We recommend that the Government works with the EU to agree that lithium-ion batteries be assigned a hazardous List of Wastes code to support the reporting and management of the risks and to ensure that recycling is undertaken by responsible operators. (Paragraph 322)

108. Compliance with the current producer responsibility regulations under the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 is variable. We heard that the regulations are not well communicated by some manufacturers and there is poor awareness of them. At present the regulations are not well enforced, but we heard that even if better enforced, they would still fall short of what will be required to manage the expected increase in volume of EVs. (Paragraph 330)

109. We recommend that, as part of the upcoming consultation on the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 and the Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008, Defra reviews and strengthens the UK producer responsibility regulations for batteries and EVs to ensure compliance with manufacturer take-back schemes and to make the manufacturer more explicitly responsible for batteries and EVs at end-of-life. Defra should also review options to enhance producer responsibility under the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations to encourage more efficient battery design to support recyclability and circularity of EV batteries. Defra should launch a consultation on reviewing and updating the End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Regulations 2003 in tandem to ensure that regulation is coherent. It would be advisable that equivalence with similar EU regulations be maintained. (Paragraph 331)

110. The Committee heard that current Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 do not cover battery reuse and that there is a lack of regulatory clarity around battery reuse for energy storage products as well as old batteries being sold privately online. We recommend that Defra, as part of their upcoming review, develop regulations that support authorised reuse, creating equivalence with similar EU provisions and clarify when a battery is a “product” and when it is classified as “waste”, including stipulating who bears responsibility at each stage to ensure that batteries are covered by appropriate regulations at each stage of the battery’s life. (Paragraph 337)

111. We recommend that Defra, as part of their upcoming review, develop regulations that support authorised reuse, creating equivalence with similar EU provisions and clarify when a battery is a “product” and when it is classified as “waste”, including stipulating who bears responsibility at each stage to ensure that batteries are covered by appropriate regulations at each stage of the battery’s life. (Paragraph 337)

112. The Committee heard that at present, the UK is not maximising the recycling of EV batteries. The UK also has insufficient capacity to recover critical materials from batteries and retain them in the UK. This is for three reasons:

(1)the current Waste Battery and Accumulator Regulations 2009 stipulate that only 50 per cent of an EV battery needs to be recycled meaning material is lost or wasted;

(2)the UK currently has no capacity to process black mass which is instead exported for processing, together with the critical materials it contains;

(3)shredding to produce black mass is itself an inefficient process that does not optimise the recovery of critical materials.

The UK needs to improve its capacity and standards for EV recycling to support UK manufacturing demand and to aid in their compliance with EU battery regulations. (Paragraph 352)

113. We recommend that the Government review current UK regulation and increase the minimum recycled amount of an EV battery to above 50 per cent. The Government should also introduce minimum recovery amounts from EV batteries for specific critical minerals including Lithium. (Paragraph 353)

114. If, as the Government states, its ambition is to achieve a circular economy for batteries, a step-change in investment in black mass processing and technology to extract critical minerals from black mass will be essential. (Paragraph 354)

115. We recommend that the Government urgently review and progress opportunities to rapidly accelerate investment in black mass processing facilities and critical minerals extraction facilities in the UK in the medium term. (Paragraph 354)

116. In the longer term, we note that research is underway to develop alternative battery chemistries that avoid the need for black mass processing altogether. (Paragraph 355)

117. While this remains nascent the Government should monitor progress in this area closely, and ensure horizon scanning informs battery recycling strategies. Government must also provide clarity to the recycling industry about future standards at the earliest stage possible to ensure it is able to adapt to changes. (Paragraph 355)

118. The Committee welcomes the recently announced development of a gigafactory in Somerset which is a welcome move towards generating a supply chain in the UK and a circular economy for EV batteries in the UK. However, this falls short of what the UK will need. (Paragraph 358)

119. We recommend that the Government prioritise securing additional gigafactories to ensure a domestic supply chain, make sure critical minerals are retained in the UK and reduce reliance on imported critical materials. (Paragraph 358)

120. We heard that permitting processes for new recycling plants are lengthy and that enforcement of legislation is currently insufficient to ensure facilities are adhering to regulation. Both permitting and enforcement are administered by the Environment Agency in England, which we heard faces significant resource challenges. Sufficient resources at the Environment Agency will be of particular importance when the new regulations being consulted on in 2024 are introduced. (Paragraph 363)

121. We recommend that the Government review the resources available to the Environment Agency in this area, and ensure these are sufficient to accelerate permitting and support the enforcement of current and future regulation. (Paragraph 363)

122. The Committee heard that waste management and recycling is overseen by a range of Departments and regulators, and there is a need for enhanced central oversight and coordination to support an increasingly critical area of growth and development. (Paragraph 367)

123. In response to this report, the Government should set out how it plans better to join up cross-Government action on waste management and recycling, and how it will facilitate improved communication with industry and consumers. (Paragraph 367)

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