There’s £4.5 million to spend on EV charge points but local councils are ignoring it
Councils have failed to make use of a £4.5 million government fund set up to pay for thousands of electric vehicle charging points, leaving residents left behind in the EV “revolution”.
Transport minister Jesse Norman, and climate minister Claire Perry, have written to local authorities in the UK, urging them to make use of the fund, which has gone largely untouched.
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The On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme was set up in 2016 to allow councils to buy and install charge points for as little as 25 per cent of their total cost. But with only five councils making use of the available funds, “thousands” of potential charge points have gone uninstalled.
The scheme was set up to provide charger point access for motorists who want an electric car but are prevented from buying one by a lack of off-street parking. Roughly a third of UK households rely on on-street parking, and most fast-charge home points will only be installed in residences with a driveway, garage, or other off-street parking facilities.
Despite the soaring popularity of electric cars, sales of which rose by almost 30 per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year, UK charging infrastructure has failed to increase at the same rate as demand for EVs, and is in danger of falling behind EU targets.
Transport minister, Jesse 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.”
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Responding to the lack of local authority take up, Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “Eight out of 10 drivers say that a lack of charging points is a reason why they will not currently buy an electric car, so the poor take up of these seemingly generous grants is disappointing.
“The funding available could add at least 600 charging points to help these residents and encourage cleaner, greener motoring. However, with local budgets already hamstrung and cuts to services being made, even the promise of funding for three quarters of the capital cost may still not be enough of an incentive.”