Regulations: alternative fuels infrastructure

Guidance for suppliers.


The alternative fuels electricity and hydrogen are regulated to ensure that the way they are supplied to vehicles or ships is consistent across the EU, supporting their usage. This also reduces dependence on oil and the environmental impact of transport, while contributing to a low carbon economy.

Recharging or refuelling points where alternative fuels are provided must meet standard technical specifications. One practical outcome is that regardless of whether you are in the UK, or throughout Europe, the same plug will be on hand to connect to your electric vehicle.

The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations 2017 are the underpinning legislation.

What is covered?

The regulations cover technical specifications for:

  • sockets and connectors for recharging electric vehicles
  • connectors for supplying hydrogen to motor vehicles
  • installations for supplying shore-side electricity to ships
  • intelligent metering systems

The regulations do not apply to recharging points in car parks at workplaces or shared by residential premises. The use of alternative fuels by the military or in space is also exempt.

Who is responsible for compliance?

With regard to the supply of alternative fuels to vehicles, the infrastructure operator providing the recharging or refuelling point – usually a business but in some cases a local authority – is responsible for compliance, whether owning it or working on behalf of a third party. With regard to the supply of shore-side electricity to ships, the statutory harbour authority is responsible for compliance.

How do I comply?

Recharging or refuelling points deployed or renewed after 17 November 2017 must comply with the technical specifications in the regulations. Recharging points must include intelligent metering systems and allow ‘ad hoc’ use, without the need for people to enter into a contract or membership scheme with the infrastructure operator or an electricity supplier.

Alternative fuel stations must also be regularly maintained, readily accessible to the public and display clear guidance on their safe and proper use, presented in a way that does not discriminate against those with limited reading abilities.

What is the role of the Office for Product Safety and Standards?

Safety & Standards enforces the regulations in the UK on behalf of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, a cross government team created by BEIS and the Department for Transport, in relation to the:

  • design, use and regular technical maintenance of recharging points
  • public accessibility of alternative fuel stations, including ‘ad hoc’ use
  • provision of guidance and geographic information

In response to concerns raised by business, there is a grace period in relation to converting existing recharging points to ‘ad hoc’ use. Compliance with this aspect of the regulations is required by 17 November 2018.

Other aspects of the regulations are enforced by the Environment Agency and its equivalents in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Where can I find out more?

Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations 2017

National Chargepoint Registry UK

Alternative fuels for sustainable mobility in Europe (European Commission)

This includes a link to the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Directive 2014.

If you have a specific enquiry about compliance with the regulations, please use the contact details on our enforcement services page.

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Published 8 November 2017