Local authorities must take the lead on electric vehicle (EV) deployment across the UK, a new report has urged.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) report, Taking Charge: how local authorities can champion electric vehicles, aims to help local authority officers, councillors and developers unlock opportunities to boost electric vehicle infrastructure. The guidance looks at the taxes and grants available to local authorities, as well as highlighting best practice in the sector.

The REA has proposed a series of guidelines to facilitate the deployment of EV infrastructure and encourage electric vehicle take-up.

Local authorities are urged to take action by appointing an EV champion. The role would be undertaken by a councillor who would act as a main contact point for the public and developers, helping to navigate the process of charging infrastructure being developed.

As well as EV champions, local authorities are advised to establish new “energy boards” to investigate ways of saving money by coordinating EV roll-out, switching to renewable energy providers for their properties, and investing in solar and energy-from-waste projects.

Local councils can also make progress by deploying EV charge points on council property, potentially co-located with a solar carport canopy and energy storage system.

The REA guide calls for a commitment to purchasing EVs as part of the council’s transport fleet, or working with bus service operators to electrify their bus fleet or have it powered by renewable gas.

The report also urges local authorities to make the “Milton Keynes Promise”, which refers to Milton Keynes Council’s initiative to provide an overnight charging facility within a short walk of every new electric car owner’s home. The overall aim is to better inform residents of existing locations, and guarantee that on-street charge points will be installed next to the homes of those who operate an EV.

Nina Skorupska, REA chief executive, said: “It is clear that as costs fall and battery ranges improve, the choice to buy an electric car or van will become more commonplace.

“While the drivers of this historic shift may be global, the impacts will be local and local authorities will be on the front lines. The expectation that a reliable, accessible, and affordable charging infrastructure will be in place is, in the eyes of much of the public, the responsibility of local government.

“We hope that this pragmatic action plan can equip all local authorities, even those with constrained budgets, to tackle the challenges and opportunities of electric vehicles head on. Ultimately, the goal is improved air quality, reduced carbon emissions, and reduced running costs for consumers.”

The REA report follows the new EV infrastructure taskforce launched by the Mayor of London last month (31 May). Members of the taskforce will be dedicated to boosting the infrastructure needed to increase the take-up of EVs across the capital.

Mayor Sadiq Khan, said: “We’ve received huge support for this new taskforce, showing it is not just an environment or transport issue but one that is vital to the future of our city, and organisations across all sectors are stepping up and accepting they have a part to play.

“This initiative will support London boroughs and ensure electric vehicle infrastructure is installed in the right places, and help make our city an even better place to live.”

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