The ownership of electric vehicles (‘EVs’) is rising. As we tackle the climate emergency and as car manufacturers move away from fossil fuel engines, it is widely recognised that EV use will increase. The Scottish Government has world-leading climate change targets and has set legally-binding requirements to achieve a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and Net Zero by 2045; the transport sector is a leading cause of emissions, and measures to support the transition of the sector to a low carbon travel economy will be essential if the Scottish Governments are to meet its targets.

The current consultation on changes to permitted development rights ('PDR') in Scotland notes that the number of EV charging points needed is expected to increase to between 500,000 and 1 million by 2030, highlighting the anticipated level of demand. In light of this, the Scottish Government are proposing to revise PDR legislation to support the provision of EV charging infrastructure.

The current permitted development rights for the provision of EV charging infrastructure are set out in Class 9E and Class 9F of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2014

The key changes proposed to Class 9E and 9F remove current restrictions on the installation of EV charging points and charging upstands in sensitive locations, such as Conservation Areas and planning permission would no longer be required for wall-mounted EV charging points or charging upstands in these locations.

Where Local Authorities have concerns about the potential impact charging points may have on these locations, they can impose ‘Article 4' directions, which can restrict PDR in specified areas. In addition to the changes to Class 9E and 9F, amendments are also proposed in relation to:

  • Nameplates on EV charging points and upstands to relax some existing controls;
  • The development of canopied charging stations in off-street parking areas, on-site battery storage and housing for associated apparatus under certain circumstances; and
  • Changing existing petrol/diesel stations to EV charging outlets and the Scottish Government is asking what other conditions and limitations should be required.

In addition, measures are proposed to widen the PDR for Local Authorities to account for emerging models for financing, delivering and operating EV charging infrastructure.

Clearly, the Scottish Government is looking to relax measures to allow for installing more EV charging points across the country. Generally, we would expect that these changes will be welcomed as they will ultimately support Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

The Scottish Government are accepting comments on the proposed PDR until 3 August 2022. If you are interested in finding out more, or if you would like to understand better how the proposed permitted development relates to your commercial property interests, please get in touch with any member of the Montagu Evans Planning team and/or visit our dedicated town centres sector page here.