News & Insights

Electric Vehicle Charging Points and Permitted Development Rights

Vicky McDonald, a senior associate in our commercial property team with a specialism in planning law, gives an overview of the permitted development rights that allow the installation of electric vehicle charging outlets in England.

It is clear that electric vehicles represent the future for the majority of vehicles in the UK, particularly in view of the upcoming ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. Electric vehicles (“EVs”) have quickly gone from being rarely seen on UK roads after the milkman has gone home, to being everywhere.

Ultimately one of the biggest challenges with EVs is getting access to the necessary charging infrastructure. Whether you are a homeowner or a business owner, understanding what the rules are can be confusing. Whilst there are a number of factors to consider when installing an EV charging point, including where you have a lease whether or not it gives you rights to make such alterations, it is important to review what the planning position is in relation to these too.

The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provides that planning permission is required for the carrying out of any development on land, with development being defined by s.55(1) of that Act as “the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under the land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land.” Alongside this there is the General Permitted Development Order 2015 (“GPDO”) which operates to deem the grant of planning permission for certain development without needing to apply for formal planning permission. Schedule 2 of the GPDO 2015 refers to this as “permitted development”.

In the context of EV chargers, the GPDO 2015 deals with two different scenarios – (1) wall mounted outlets and (2) outlets on an upstand.

  1. Wall Mounted EV charging outlets

Class D, Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the GPDO 2015 permits development without planning permission for the installation, alteration or replacement of a wall mounted EV charging outlet, so long as the area is lawfully used for off-street parking. However, please note that if any of the following criteria apply to the outlet or its casing then the development will not be permitted development and so planning permission would be needed. It:

  1. Exceeds 0.2 cubic metres in volume; or
  2. Faces onto and is within 2 metres of a highway; or
  3. Is within a site designated as a scheduled monument; or
  4. Is within the curtilage of a listed building


  1. Outlets on an upstand

Class E, Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the GPDO 2015 permits development without planning permission for the installation, alteration or replacement of an EV charging unit on an upstand, so long as the area is lawfully used for off-street parking.

Again, this deemed permission is subject to the following limitations and conditions on the upstand and the outlet (so that if any of these apply it will not be ‘permitted development’. It

  1. Exceeds 2.3 metres in height from the level of the surface used for the parking of vehicles (the height limit is lower, at 1.6 metres, where it is within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse or a block of flats)
  2. is within 2 metres of a highway, or
  3. is within a site designated as a scheduled monument, or
  4. is within the curtilage of a listed building, or
  5. Results in more than one upstand for each parking space

In either case whether the EV charging outlet is wall mounted or on an upstand, the deemed permission granted provides that when the development is no longer needed as a charging point for EVs:

  1. It is removed as soon as reasonably practicable; and
  2. The land on which the development is mounted or into which the development is set is, as soon as reasonably practicable, and so far as reasonably practicable, re-instated to its condition before that development was carried out.

With all new-build homes now needing to be provided with EV chargers, we will need to see whether or not this requirement to reinstate will continue.

Notwithstanding the above, if you are looking to install an EV charging unit, then before doing so it is important to consider the following:

(1)        Is the Property in an area with an Article 4 Direction where permitted development rights have been withdrawn?

(2)        Is the Property within a Conservation Area where the charger will be visible to the public?

(3)        Is the Property listed or near to a Heritage Asset?

If the answer to any of the above three questions is ‘yes’, then appropriate advice from the local planning authority should be sought, as planning permission (and where applicable listed building consent) will be required and the grant of such permission will be subject to the relevant development policies in place.