(Title Image: Wikipedia via Mariordo and Creative Commons Licence BY SA 2.0)
Having already ruled out one proposed law on electric vehicles last May, another Member’s Bill proposal was debated in the Senedd yesterday – this time from David Melding AM (Con, South Wales Central).
David Melding’s proposed Bill would seek to ensure that all new homes with a parking space, and every residential building with more than 10 parking spaces undergoing renovation, had an electric car charging point for single homes or at least half of parking spaces in larger developments.
It was quite clear Wales was lagging well behind on this:
There was a lot of support for the idea itself, with some tweaks.
Angela Burns AM (Con, Carms. W. & S. Pembs.) supported introducing the Merton principle, whereby at least 10% of all energy needs for homes on a new development should come from renewable sources within the site itself. This could easily be expanded to include electric vehicles.
Rhun ap Iorwerth AM (Plaid, Ynys Môn) – who introduced the proposal last year – didn’t think the market would reach most parts of Wales, so it has to be at least in part led by government, backed by legislation if needed. Mark Isherwood AM (Con, North Wales) felt the public sector should lead by example by converting their vehicle fleets to electric and using their procurement leverage.
Jenny Rathbone AM (Lab, Cardiff Central) had an alternative take – car use, green energy or not, should be discouraged.
Local Government & Housing Minister, Julie James (Lab, Swansea West), said the infrastructure requirements for an electric switch-over were a major challenge – though charging at home is likely to be the most convenient and cost-effective way of meeting demand.
The Welsh Government didn’t support a law, but the Minister hinted at major changes to building regulations in the short-term:
“The Minister for Economy and Transport and I have recently agreed to issue a consultation paper on changes to require electric vehicle charging points for all new dwellings and in parking areas for non-residential buildings. Further detail on the specifics of these proposals will be set out in the consultation….We do expect that consultation to come out later this spring. So, while I support the objective of requiring new houses to have electric vehicle charging points, it’s not necessary to have a Bill as we will be developing our own proposals in our building regulations….”
– Local Government & Housing Minister, Julie James