New homes will have to be built with electric car chargers as part of a plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, it will be announced today.

Building regulations will be overhauled to require developers to include external chargepoints outside houses, flats and offices. All new streetlights will also be expected to have charging systems to ensure more drivers can power up their car battery by the roadside and the government will invest in trials of “wireless” charging technology.

The measures will be outlined in a “road to zero” strategy that will set out the government’s policy to end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars or vans by 2040.

Air pollution contributes to 40,000 early deaths a year and an estimated £6 billion a year is spent on the wider health impact of toxic roadside fumes.

The blueprint being published by the Department for Transport is likely to be criticised by environmental groups for lacking ambition. The document will only commit to making new cars “effectively zero emission” within the next 22 years, leaving the door open to some cars with limited exhaust emissions.

The government also confirmed that it “sees a role” for hybrid cars, which are capable of operating through a battery and a petrol or diesel engine. It follows arguments from the car industry that an all-out ban on combustion engine cars risks “undermining” confidence in a sector which supports more than 800,000 British jobs. Some 5.5 per cent of new cars sold since the start of the year have been ultra-low emission models. Most are likely to be hybrids.

Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, will say today that the plan will pave the way “for the biggest overhaul in road transport technology since the development of the Benz patent motorcar 130 years ago”. The government wants electric car drivers to “find it easier to recharge their vehicles than motorists today who have to visit a filling station”. The strategy will commit to “making sure houses being built are electric vehicle ready”. The government will consult on a requirement for charge points to be fitted to new homes “where appropriate”. This usually involves fitting wall-mounted sockets to the outside of buildings.

The strategy will include “future-proofing streets by ensuring all new street lighting columns have charging points in areas with on-street parking” and £400 million will be spent funding companies that produce and install the charge point technology.

The government is set to reject appeals made by mayors and council leaders to bring the 2040 target forward by ten years. However, the strategy is expected to include an interim target requiring car makers to sell a proportion of zero-emission cars by 2030.

Andy McDonald, shadow transport secretary, said: “It is dangerous to row back on commitments to clean up road transport. This isn’t a road to zero, it’s a road to nowhere.”


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