A driver has complained after being slapped with a £100 fine for parking too long at a service station while charging their electric vehicle. They complained that although the time limit for parking is two hours, they had to wait an additional thirty minutes for a charger to become free.
“Others should be warned that when charging, it’s easy to run over the limit.”
In response, the Guardian motoring expert advised that: “The mandatory free parking period, which applies to service stations across the UK, belongs to a different era when two hours was ample to use the lav and buy a meal.
“The rationale was that without a parking limit, the public would embrace service stations as a destination for a delightful day out, rather than as a pit stop.
“As electric vehicles proliferate faster than public charging points, some motorists may need longer.
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“At Abington, a punitive £15 parking fee kicks in after two hours and many drivers will be unaware they’ve exceeded the limit while charging.
“If this is not paid, a £100 PCN is issued
“Welcome Break, which operates the service station, says there are signs ‘dotted around’ and that it has a duty to ensure drivers leave promptly to make way for others.”
It said: “The parking policy reflects the guidance from National Highways which states that a two-hour break is adequate for all drivers who seek a rest while driving.”
National Highways said its guidance was based on the requirements of the Department for Transport and it has no powers to amend parking limits.
The Department for Transport has no plans to increase the limit.
Instead it said it is providing £1.3billion to increase charge points and aims to install 6,000 on the motorway services network by 2035.
The DfT said: “Our measures are increasing charging speeds, while making plug-in points more accessible, and today a driver is never more than 25 miles from a rapid charge point anywhere along England’s major A roads and motorways.”
It comes as EV drivers are being warned as major new legislation has been introduced today, requiring most EV chargers to have smart charging capabilities.
From today, June 30, all home and workplace electric car chargers are required to have certain smart charging functions.
The new rules are intended to manage the strain on the National Grid with thousands of electric vehicles charging at the same time across England, Scotland and Wales.
As part of the new rules, EV private chargepoints sold for domestic or workplace use in Great Britain and any smart cables are covered in the regulations.