Many planning schemes in Victoria contain an environmentally sustainable development (ESD) policy that requires for certain types of development and use above a specified size, the preparation of a green travel plan (GTP).
A GTP is prepared typically by an ESD expert and at times has recommended the provision of one or more car parking spaces to be set aside and provisioned for electric vehicle charging..
It is interesting that this provision, to provide a fuelling station for electric vehicles, is being placed on the developer when no such requirements were included in planning permits to provide fuelling sources for petrol or diesel powered vehicles. While we recognise there may be a marketing and even revenue advantage in providing this infrastructure, it is nevertheless an imposition of a service requirement that is new, but we digress.
Back to electric vehicles. Despite electric vehicle charging stations not being required specifically by the planning scheme, Councils where related conditions are imposed, usually include a requirement that a certain number of parking spaces with electric vehicle charging posts are to be provided by the developer. Admittedly, the cost of such charging is not discussed.
Notwithstanding the matters above, it is unclear when and how many electric vehicle charging stations are ‘required’ to be provided for a relevant development and what is a relevant development, and as a result, we are left with the specifying of the number of charging stations based on whim and thus varying considerably from Council to Council.
Ignoring the philosophical question of whose responsibility it is to provide fuelling stations for electric vehicles, if this is to become the norm and in order to provide more certainty to applicants and to set clear expectations for when the provision of electric vehicle charging stations is required, planning schemes could be amended to specify rates for electric vehicle charging for particular sizes and types of development and use.
Lastly, any change to the planning scheme should recognise that the purpose of this infrastructure is to contribute toward creating a network of electric vehicle charging stations rather than property developers being seen to be responsible for the provision of new electricity stations.