Promoting Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs) policy area

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About this policy


Improve emissions intensity and energy efficiency of vehicles and operational efficiency of roads through technology improvements.


To promote the rapid uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen vehicles, where appropriate.

Policy statement

Electric and other potentially zero emission vehicles (ZEV) are essential to removing carbon emissions from transport; these include cars, vans, buses, taxis and HGVs. The government is leading on the uptake of ZEVs at a national level, through policies including a ban on new petrol and diesel car and van sales by 2030 and hybrid cars by 2035. At a local level, this policy area will look to accelerate uptake by providing public charging points and encouraging the private sector to do likewise, providing ZEV car clubs, ensuring our own fleets are zero emission, and by awareness raising.


Low emissions vehicles terms

  • Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV): We use this term to mean vehicles that produce zero carbon emissions at the point of use and have the potential to produce zero emissions overall. The main examples are electric and hydrogen vehicles that will produce zero emissions overall, once electricity (used to charge the vehicles or to produce the hydrogen) is fully produced from zero carbon emissions sources.
  • Electric Vehicles (EV): We use this term to mean vehicles driven by an electric motor, powered by a battery that is charged by plugging into the electricity network.


Planning and enabling charging and fuelling infrastructure

We will work with partners to develop a well-positioned public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (including e-bikes and potentially e-scooters). It is essential that we deliver the infrastructure to support a high rate of transition to ZEVs and EVs.

We plan to enable convenient access to a mix of rapid chargers and slower chargers across Surrey. This will include providing on-street charging in residential areas without off-street parking and charging at destinations such as retail and leisure centres and transport interchanges such as stations and mobility hubs. The range of locations will be important to ensure that all sectors of the community have access to charging. It will also help to increase confidence in the ability to charge vehicles widely, helping to overcome concerns about how far EVs can travel between charges.

We will also work with partners to understand emerging requirements for fuelling infrastructure for other alternative fuel sources such as hydrogen, and we will consider the additional requirements of electric bike and e-cargo bike users when it comes to security and accessibility of parking and ensuring, where possible, that new or improved cycle infrastructure is designed as per LTN 1/20 guidance to accommodate these bikes.

Accelerating the uptake of ZEVs amongst council and wider fleets, including electric cars and e-bikes

We will take action to accelerate the take-up of ZEVs amongst the fleets over which we have some influence including:

Our council fleet and suppliers' fleet

We will work to upgrade our vehicle fleet to ZEVs, including both vehicles that we own and those that we lease.

We will review the scope to influence the fleets of our suppliers. For instance, procurement contracts could provide the opportunity for the council to set minimum standards for emissions rates for the vehicles used by suppliers.

Local taxi fleets

To encourage EV uptake in the taxi fleet, we will work with the districts and borough councils to review the options to change taxi licensing regulations to require taxis to be electric. This could be supplemented by a loan or grant to help taxi drivers with the hurdle of high upfront costs. Other supporting measures would include provision of charging at relevant locations and clear communication of the likely operating cost savings of using electricity rather than petrol or diesel.

Bus and community transport fleet

We will continue to support the conversion of the bus and community transport fleet through bidding for available funds such as the DfT Electric Bus Towns Fund. This will build on our existing electric bus fleet in Guildford and the recent decision to invest £32.5 million in electric and hydrogen buses and £6.5m for community transport electric minibuses.

Wider corporate fleet

We will support the conversion of wider corporate fleets by raising awareness amongst businesses in Surrey about the potential for ZEVs to bring them economic as well as environmental benefits and we will build upon our website support to help those upgrading their fleets with the practicalities of vehicle purchase, such as arranging charging facilities. This will also be available to individuals buying a new ZEV.

Private vehicle fleet

We will support uptake of ZEVs for private cars by raising awareness of the range of vehicles and their characteristics and the availability of government grants for purchase and charging points.

Expanding EV car clubs

We will support the expansion of EV car club fleets. The fleets would build on the 30 Enterprise car clubs already provided across seven towns in Surrey, including Woking and Guildford, and could be part of shared transport and accessed through the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) application . They would be accessible to both private and business users to maximise their impacts.

Benefits of car clubs include the potential to get EVs on the road quickly to replace journeys by petrol and diesel vehicles. They would also provide lower cost access to EVs, feasible for those unable to afford a new car. This is important in combination with the Demand Management for Cars measure of differentiating parking charges by vehicle size and emissions. The aim would also be to reduce individual car ownership by providing a low emission option for car use when essential, integrated with others within the MaaS system. Expansion of car clubs would bring further benefits of encouraging travel mode shift away from car use. As people use car clubs rather than owning cars, they will pay for car journeys more on a pay-per-use basis. This will put costs and decisions about travelling by different modes on a more comparable basis. It also saves car users money over a year compared to traditional car ownership.

In promoting the uptake of ZEVs across all fleet types, we will seek to minimise the number and size of vehicles purchased wherever possible. For national carbon reduction targets to be met, we should not simply replace the existing vehicle fleet with electric vehicles because of the emissions involved in vehicle manufacture. Although the vehicle manufacturing emissions are outside the scope of emissions covered by Surrey's Climate Change Strategy commitment, they will contribute to national totals. Producing fewer vehicles and smaller vehicles will reduce emissions from this source. Car clubs contribute to this aim as they mean that distance travelled is covered by fewer vehicles used more intensively, rather than individually owned vehicles (which are typically stationary for at least 95% of their lifespan). They also provide access to a range of vehicle sizes so that the appropriate vehicle size can be chosen for a journey. This contrasts with privately owned cars, as people typically own large vehicles only needed for occasional requirements (like holidays) and drive them daily, therefore unnecessarily increasing emissions and energy use for each journey.

Contribution to LTP4 objectives

Net zero carbon emissions: Changing Surrey's vehicles rapidly and efficiently to low and ultimately zero emissions vehicles will deliver substantial carbon emissions reductions by reducing the emissions produced per vehicle kilometre.

Sustainable growth: Businesses that upgrade to a ZEV fleet will benefit from operating cost savings relative to petrol and diesel vehicles, once they have overcome the higher upfront costs of buying the vehicle. Upfront costs are less for smaller ZEV vehicles such as e-cargo bikes. Loans to firms to support purchase would help to overcome this hurdle and charging infrastructure provision will help to provide confidence in vehicle purchase. Rolling out EV car clubs which allow business use will also provide some businesses with a cost-effective way of accessing the car use that they need, bringing cost savings. Car clubs provide a viable, low-cost way for families and individuals to access a car without the costs of purchase, insurance, maintenance and storage.

Well-connected communities: Provision and promotion of EV charging facilities will include town centre locations and residential areas reliant on on-street parking and will cover all EV types, including e-scooters, e-bikes and electric cars. This will mean that individuals from all communities will have good access to EV charging for different vehicle types. EV car clubs will provide access to EVs without the cost of ownership. This will help to ensure that lower income car using households are not disadvantaged through emissions-based parking charges and will support social mobility by providing an affordable option for longer journeys that are not currently feasible by public or other shared transport.

Clean air and excellent quality of life: The increased use of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) will lead to significant improvements in some aspects of local air quality and reduced noise levels, improving local street environments and the health and well-being of residents. Provision of car clubs to accelerate ZEV uptake will provide additional travel options that do not require private car ownership, opening up new opportunities and helping to reduce car ownership and traffic levels.

Reduced car ownership provided through car clubs will mean that street space previously used to store private cars can be repurposed for community uses such as play spaces, green spaces, seating areas, walking and cycling facilities and more.

Increased provision of e-bike facilities, such as charging and storage, will enable those with reduced mobility such as the elderly to access active travel, improving their health and wellbeing.


The role of ZEVs

A rapid uptake of ZEVs in Surrey's fleet is needed to meet our carbon reduction targets and to help improve local air quality and noise levels in our communities. They are a key component of the change required and rapid action is needed to make progress. Much of the change will depend on action at a national level (critically the government's petrol and diesel new car and van sales ban in 2030 and the automobile industry's response).

However, it is important to recognise that ZEVs are not the single solution to reducing carbon and solving other environmental and social impacts of road vehicles. They cannot reduce carbon emissions quickly enough or solve other social and environmental issues of road use for several reasons, including:

  • Fleet change cannot occur fast enough. Even with rapid take-up of electric cars and vans, petrol and diesel vehicles will remain in the fleet into the 2040s.
  • Significant emissions are produced by electric vehicle manufacture.
  • Replacing petrol and diesel vehicles with electric vehicles does not solve the wide range of other problems associated with vehicle use, including congestion, air quality (EVs affect local air quality due to brake and tyre wear), road safety and the social inequality implications of lack of accessibility for those unable to afford or use cars.

Therefore, our other Policy Areas remain important and must occur in conjunction with Promoting Zero Emissions Vehicles.

On-street EV chargepoint rollout

A range of charging points already exist across Surrey and we have worked with neighbouring authorities in the Energise Partnership to install five rapid charging points. We are also making good progress with our charging point pilot scheme. This is using funding from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership to install 80 fast charge points on-street and near urban centres across Guildford, Spelthorne, Waverley and Woking. The chargepoints have been distributed to a total of 20 chargepoint sites, split equally between the boroughs with a maximum of four chargepoints at each charging site. Findings from the monitoring of the EV charger usage will be used to develop design and policy guidelines for a county-wide rollout of EV charging infrastructure. Find out more about the chargepoint rollout on our Electric Vehicles page.

Demand Responsive Transport trial

The Mole Valley Demand Responsive Transport trial is using electric minibuses. This will allow us to understand the practical opportunities and challenges associated with operating an electric fleet in practice, that we can then use to inform future fleet decisions.

Further projects will be developed with bus and community transport operators in future.

Surrey County Council fleet transition

We are actively working to convert our own fleet to ZEVs. This includes constructing solar car ports with integrated EV charging and installing additional EV charging infrastructure on our estates to meet operational needs. We are also installing EV charging infrastructure across our fire stations and integrating car clubs with our estates.


E-scooters have also become increasingly visible in recent years. They have the potential to bring many of the same benefits as e-bikes, although they require less physical activity. They provide efficient personal mobility that is accessible to a wide range of users and can cover ranges of up to 20 miles. However, they also bring some additional challenges, particularly around safety, and are currently being trialled in a number of towns and cities around the country, to see how and if they can be rolled out safely and legally. As new technologies and options such as e-scooters emerge, we will follow best practice and guidance to ensure that we effectively and safely benefit from the potential opportunities that they bring.


We have made a commitment to track a number of 'uncertainties' related to EV which will help us make effective policy going forward. Uncertainties include battery technology, resident charging behaviours and preferences, vehicle technology and making sure back-office systems are future-proofed.

Guidance and standards

Charging cables

We, Surrey County Council, do not allow for EV charging cables to trail across public footpaths. It is a hazard to pedestrians and other highway network users and, under the Highways Act 1980, Part IX Lawful and Unlawful Interference with Highways and Streets, it is illegal for any person to place or run a cable or wire along or across a public highway, which includes the pavement.

There is no instance in which you can trail your cable across the pavement, including the use of pavement drainage channels. Cable gullies or protectors across pavements are not currently authorised.

Potential solutions to this will be kept under review and we will continue to review research and trials into systems such as under pavement channelling to cater for charging cables. At this time, we do not authorise such systems.

For our own rollout of EV chargepoints, we have assessed every site against our preferred criteria that 1.5 metres of footpath width is retained for pedestrian access. A 'build out' which extends the existing width of the pavement for the charging unit are being installed where the pavement is considered to be too narrow.

Guidance on EV parking and charging in new developments

We will seek the provision of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points within all new developments. Our standards for EV parking and charging are set out within our Vehicle, cycle and Electric Vehicle parking guidance for new developments. Our standards take into account the view that the majority of charging will take place at home and be done overnight with supplementary charging taking place in workplaces, town centres and at service stations.

These standards acknowledge that, as innovation and technology improves, battery capacity will increase to meet the demand for longer range electric vehicles. Our standards will be reviewed in line with the development of new technology.

Guidance on car clubs in new developments

In order to support our ambitions for net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest, all new car club vehicles provided by development shall be electric. For more information, please see our guidance for car clubs in new developments.


At present, e-scooter use is only permitted as part of trial schemes, and it is not legal to ride privately owned e-scooters on public roads. This may change following the Governments upcoming Transport Bill, and we will update our guidance accordingly.

How our policies will affect the way you travel

Find out how this policy and our other transport plan policies will affect how you choose to travel:

Policy context


  • On-street EV design guidance: our guidance for developers on how to design and implement on-street EV chargepoints.
  • Surrey's Climate Change Strategy: aims to 'achieve net zero carbon local authorities that lead by example in promoting sustainable practices across their operations, estate, and vehicles' and shift to more sustainable transport modes.
  • Community Vision 2030: aims for 'residents to live in clean, safe and green communities, where people and organisations embrace their environmental responsibilities.'
  • Vehicular, electric vehicle and cycle parking guidance for new developments: This guidance sets out our standards for electric vehicle, cycle and car parking on new developments in Surrey.
  • Guidance on car clubs in new developments: our guidance for Transport Development Planning Officers, Local Planning Officers and Developers to guide them in the process of deciding on, planning and implementing car club provision as part of new development through the planning process.


Public chargepoint locations

The number of public chargepoints is growing daily and your employer may also provide a chargepoint at your workplace. There are several public charging networks operating in the Surrey area. To find your nearest chargepoint, try one of these sites:

Requesting a chargepoint

Requests for public on-street chargepoints can be made using our interactive map and survey.

Have your say today via Surrey EV Commonplace

Further phases will consider rapid charging and a wider roll-out of chargepoints across Surrey. More information about this can be found on our Electric vehicles webpage.

Car clubs

Find out about car clubs in Surrey, including how to join.

Contact us

If you have any questions or comments, please email:

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