Swindon is planning for an electric future thanks to a new policy for new-build homes that will go out for consultation in July and August.

Swindon Borough Council’s Planning Committee approved the borough’s draft Parking Standards 2019 document on Tuesday (11 June) which sets out how new developments should make appropriate provision for the parking of cars, motorcycles and bikes.

As part of these standards, the Council is proposing a policy which would require housebuilders to provide a minimum of one Electric Vehicle Charging Points (EVCP) per home where there is a requirement for parking spaces.

The policy is in line with the National Planning Policy Framework which states that new development should “be designed to enable charging of plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles in safe, accessible and convenient locations”.

The Government has also outlined its intention to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2040, with a further commitment announced this week for net-zero carbon emissions by 2035.

Under the proposed policy, developers would be required to provide an EV charging wallbox for houses as it is safer and quicker, reducing charge time by 30 to 60 per cent depending on the vehicle. A smart wallbox can also regulate charging time and speed to reduce pressure on the local electricity network.

The electric charging point revolution will also not just be restricted to residential developments. New retail developments would also be required to provide EVCPs in 10 per cent of parking spaces with the option for extending this to a further 10 per cent of bays.

And new employment developments would be required to provide a minimum of two EV spaces or 20 per cent, whichever is the maximum, for car parking associated with work uses. This could then be extended up to 30 per cent in future years. The dedicated electric vehicle parking spaces would be allocated to drivers of electric vehicles with surplus spaces being made available to general parking provision.

Charging points would be secured as part of planning conditions and, where developments are being built close to public car parks, developers may be asked to make a contribution towards the EVCPs in public car parks.

Slow charge EVCPs would be acceptable to the Council’s planners in residential areas, but in retail and leisure developments, short stay ‘fast’ or ‘rapid’ charge points would be required.

Councillor Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, said: “I am really excited to be driving ahead with this forward-looking new policy, which will make it even easier for people to own electric vehicles in Swindon.

“If adopted, I hope local businesses and developers engage positively with our drive to reduce Swindon’s carbon emissions and support the Council’s Vision for a low-carbon economy.”

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