The government is consulting on plans to force larger service stations and motorway service areas to provide hydrogen refuelling facilities and charging points for electric vehicles.

The measures are included in a consultation document for the Modern Transport Bill, which is due to be laid in Parliament next year.

One of the aims of the Bill will be to boost the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs), and the consultation document, which has just been published, states: “It is proposed that the following powers are included in the Bill:

• power to require that operators of motorway service areas (MSAs) ensure a minimum provision of electric and hydrogen fuels for ULEVs at MSAs;

• power to require a minimum provision of electric and hydrogen fuels for ULEVs at large fuel retailers;

• power to franchise hydrogen refuelling.”

Going into more details on the powers regarding charging points it states: “Given the variety of businesses currently retailing vehicle fuel, we propose that the measure be restricted to those above a certain size. This could be defined in a number of ways, including turnover, vehicle throughput, and/or volume of fuel sold.

“Supermarkets and oil companies currently own 30% of UK petrol stations with 60% of market share by volume, and it may be appropriate to focus the requirements on those rather than independent or dealer-owned forecourts.”

The document accepts that hydrogen refuelling will not be viable before 2025 without public funding. But it adds: “Public funding of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure beyond 2020 is unlikely to be viable. Government is therefore considering options to provide confidence to secure private investment during the Investing in Growth phase.

“These options include mandating provision of hydrogen refuelling at fuel retail forecourts where appropriate, MSAs or other strategic locations, and conferring first mover advantage to early investors by granting time-limited regional franchises for hydrogen refuelling.”

Unveiling the new proposals transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “We are committed to making transport cleaner and giving even more drivers the option of using a low emission vehicle as we strive to improve air quality across the country.

“Our ambition is for nearly all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2040, and we are taking real steps to achieve this in the Modern Transport Bill. We now want to hear the views of businesses and the wider public."

To see the proposed ULEV measures for inclusion in the Modern Transport Bill click here.

The Modern Transport Bill consultation on measures for low emission vehicle infrastructure will last four weeks, closing on 23 November.