Why an EV future relies on wayleaves

Trenches Law News   • November 19th, 2021

As the UK continues its drive towards a greener outlook – with electric vehicles (EV) leading the way – there’s still a lot to achieve if we’re to enjoy a net zero future.

While many car owners do make more eco-conscious choices and the Government has rolled out several initiatives to encourage environmentally friendly ways in which to commute, there’s plenty to consider. And there’s also an area often overlooked, which will be crucial in the rapid expansion of EV charge point installations, as TotallyEV found out when they reached out to Sharon McDermott, managing director of Trenches Law. If you missed the article, catch it in full here…

Why a legally binding agreement is the key to a net zero UK

OFGEM figures have stated that demand for electric cars is set to rise by 24% within the next five years. That means a total of 18 million vehicles will be on the road by 2030, as the UK heads towards a 2050 target of net zero carbon emissions.

The initiatives continue to be rolled out at pace too, with the Department for Transport’s ‘Road to Zero’ report unveiling a £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund in order to prioritise EV charge point installations. Plus, the Government has committed to phasing out new sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and hybrids by 2035.

So, although everyone seems to be singing from the same hymn sheet, there is an area that will be vital in making these next steps a reality for the UK – the wayleave process.

This might not be familiar territory to many as it is an incredibly niche field. However, a wayleave agreement is written permission granted by landowners for telecoms providers to install equipment on private land, such as telegraph poles and cables, or ducting and fibre.

Wayleaves explained…

To put their importance into context, around 20-30% of properties in a telco build project require wayleave consents, and if they’re overlooked then costs can soon mount up – from around £950 in surveyor rates and nearly £1,500 per wayleave in traditional law firms’ fees. Add in the expense and resource constraints that come with planning and there’s soon going to be a hefty bill that wasn’t even part of the original plans.

So, while the term ‘wayleave’ and what this stands for might still sound confusing to many – especially as it’s not exactly focused on directly reducing the nation’s carbon footprint – the critical role it does play is that without such an agreement in place, EV charge point installations simply can’t happen.

And if that’s the case, just imagine how many years the ‘getting net zero done’ strategy will be set back because there was an oversight in those early stages, before a drill has even graced the concrete floor.

The advantages of wayleave for an EV future

With an agreement in place, build projects can take place legally, accurately, and swiftly. The difficulty is that they’re often very complex and time-consuming to navigate without a wayleave specialist on hand to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible.

Simply put, there’s no question that if the EV sector wants to grow at the speed it needs to, in order to meet these ambitious nationwide targets, wayleaves must be in place at the earliest opportunity to ensure everything is done legally. It’d be catastrophic to think that an oversight could lead to this huge project not even getting out of first gear.

Overall, the UK has a collective responsibility to care for the environment. It is down to every single individual to play their part in how the planet evolves, and living by far greener alternatives to petrol and diesel-powered vehicles goes some way towards this.

That’s why it’s vitally important to give landowners, housing associations, local authorities, EV providers, and organisations with fleet vehicles the expert guidance they require to complete their applications and become the driving force behind achieving net zero carbon emissions.