- A £250m a year capital investment fund granted to nine Metro Mayors is doing little to support the UK’s EV transition, new research by Novuna Vehicle Solutions finds
- FOI requests submitted to all nine directly elected leaders of city regions reveals only two used the fund to install public charge points in 2021
- Lack of investment in charging infrastructure leaves UK at risk of failing to fulfil pledge to phase out sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030
21 July 2022: Just 42 public electric vehicle (EV) charge points were installed by the UK’s nine Metro Mayors in 2021, leaving a quarter of a billion pound annual capital investment fund, established to support local transport projects, practically untouched. That is according to new research by leading EV leasing company Novuna Vehicle Solutions, which found that only four of the nine combined authorities installed new charge points last year, and just two installed any for public use.
The UK has nine directly elected Metro Mayors, each is responsible for overseeing the development and maintenance of public services, infrastructure, and transport in their city region. This includes supporting the UK’s electrification strategy, which calls for 300,000 new EV charge points to be installed in the next 8 years1, helping to fulfil a government pledge to phase out the sale of petrol/diesel vehicles by 2030. Combined with Greater London, overseen by Sadiq Khan, the nine city regions account for 43% of the UK’s economic output and have a combined population of over 14 million residents.
Novuna submitted freedom of information (FOI) requests to the offices the UK’s nine Metro Mayors in April 2022, requesting details of how many public and private charge points each had installed in 2021, and how many were funded by the capital investment fund. The responses revealed that a total of 98 charge points were installed by four authorities last year, of which only 42 were explicitly made available for public use.
EV charge points installed in each Metro Mayor City Region in 2021
Charge points installed
Capital Investment Fund
West of England
West Yorkshire (Leeds)
Liverpool City Region
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
North of Tyne
Each Mayor has access to a relative share of a £7.45bn capital investment fund over a 30 year period, equating to £250m for each calendar year. These budgets are in addition to a £6.8bn City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement2, which allows the Metro Mayors (with the exception of North of Tyne) to bid to fund initiatives that work towards decarbonising transport, in line with national priorities.
Despite the sizable funding on the table, only the West of England (29) and Greater Manchester (13) installed public chargers in their regions last year. The former also installed 14 charge points restricted for taxis, buses or fleets, joined by Liverpool (13) and West Yorkshire (29). Tees Valley, The West Midlands, and the Combined Authority of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough disclosed that they hadn’t installed any charge points in 2021, while North of Tyne, and Sheffield/South Yorkshire failed to provide the requested information within the FOI timeframe.
Furthermore, scrutiny of the official Statement of Accounts of the Metro Mayors and their Combined Authorities, as well as the FOI requests, revealed that none of the 98 chargers installed across the regions used the significant capital investment fund, despite it being in place for several years. With one exception, Dan Norris, Metro Mayor of West of England explained that his office is currently developing a £5m package of EV investment proposals using the West of England Investment Fund, with delivery expected by 2023.
Jon Lawes, MD Novuna Vehicle Solutions, said: “The Metro Mayor position was created with a clear mandate to boost the economic development of the UK’s biggest city regions, and investment in infrastructure is a vital piece of that puzzle. Without a critical mass of publicly available EV charge points, the UK will remain shackled to petrol and diesel well beyond our collective 2030 goal.
“We need to pivot from planning mode and start putting shovels in the ground. The money is available, what’s required now is the political muscle to deliver critical infrastructure, especially for the 40% of households that can’t install a private charger. With a quarter of all new sales now being battery powered, the last thing we want is this exponential growth in drivers making the transition to EV’s to be compromised because our local authorities have taken their eye off the ball.”
The lack of tangible action is at odds with other public and private sector initiatives to support the UK’s EV transition. Salary sacrifice schemes – which allow for motorists to lease an EV from their employer and save up to 50% on the monthly cost by using their salary before tax is deducted – continue to offer cost-effective options for motorists.
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Notes to Editors:
The nine Combined Authority’s Statement of Accounts for 2020/21:
- Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
- Greater Manchester
- Liverpool City Region
- North of Tyne
- Sheffield City Region
- Tees Valley
- West Midlands
- West of England
- West Yorkshire