The EU Parliament has given its final approval to new rules forcing the establishment of more electric vehicle recharging points and alternative fuel stations across Europe.

In a vote on 15 April, it agreed to establish a new directive that will oblige member states to submit minimum proposed levels of refuelling and recharging stations, with EU wide standards including the use of common plugs for electric vehicles and standardised refuelling equipment for hydrogen and natural gas.

Under EC proposals, just under 800,000 publicly accessible electric vehicle recharging points, all using a common plug, will need to be established before 2020 – including over 120,000 in the UK. EC figures show there were just 11,749 such points across the EU in 2011, including 703 in the UK.

The EC also wants LNG refuelling stations to be installed every 400km along the roads of the Trans European Core Network, and for CNG refuelling points to be available Europe-wide at maximum distances of 150km by 2020.

Commenting on the vote, EC vice president Siim Kallas said it was "a milestone in the roll-out of clean fuels in Europe", adding: "This vote sends a clear signal that Europe is putting clean fuels at the heart of its transport policy and the drive to develop a transport system fit for the 21st century."

The DfT told this time last year that it supported the EU’s efforts to harmonise technical standards for alternative fuels but that it was "not convinced that setting targets for the deployment of technology-specific infrastructure is the most effective way of building consumer confidence in new technology".