Local councils cannot take on responsibility for providing electric charging facilities, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
After ministers criticised councils for not taking up funding for charging facilities, LGA transport spokesman Martin Tett suggested the private sector had to take the lead.
He said: “Councils are keen to embrace emerging transport technology for the benefits of their residents and communities, with some councils working through the planning system to ensure developers fund charging points.
“However, they cannot take on the role of replacing petrol stations. Any new responsibilities to ensure there is sufficient electric car charging infrastructure must be matched with adequate funding. Long term this must be a role for the private sector.”
Tett was responding after ministers Jesse Norman and Claire Perry called for local authorities to do more after it emerged just five councils out of 418 in the UK have taken advantage of an electric car scheme.
Norman said: “We are in the early stages of an electric revolution in the UK transport sector, and connectivity is at its heart.
“Millions of homes in the UK do not have off-street parking, so this funding is important to help local councils ensure that all their residents can take advantage of this revolution.
“Charge points can be anything from new points popping up on streets to adapting existing lampposts to make the best use of space. The money has been available since 2016 but so far only five councils have come forward, so there is £4.5m still available for them – enough for thousands of extra points.”
The two government ministers have written to councils urging them to take up the scheme, which makes available up to 75% of the cost of procuring and installing chargepoints.
In the Autumn Budget last year the Chancellor announced a £400m Charging Investment Infrastructure Fund, and the PRA is pressing for fuel retailers to be included in the list of eligible businesses to receive support.