News story

Funding for thousands of electric car charge points unused by councils

Ministers write to local councils urging them to take up electric car charge-point funding.

Electric charge-point
  • government urges local authorities to take advantage of a £4.5 million pot which could help people around the country join the electric car revolution
  • Electric Vehicle Homecharge and Plug-in Car Grant schemes extended to help motorists make the switch to electric

Ministers Jesse Norman and Claire Perry have called for local authorities to do more to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle air quality after it emerged just 5 councils in the whole of the UK have taken advantage of an electric car scheme.

In 2016 the Department for Transport launched the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme, offering funding for local authorities to buy and install electric car charge points. But the take-up more than a year later has been extremely disappointing, meaning people up and down the country are being denied the opportunity to take advantage of the technology.

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. Local authorities can fund the remaining costs through public and private sources.

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.

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 5 councils have come forward, so there is £4.5 million still available for them – enough for thousands of extra points.

Prepared for the electric revolution

With a host of different support schemes for electric vehicles announced in the Autumn Statement, including a Charging Investment Infrastructure Fund to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure, and more money to help people buy electric cars, the on-street scheme is an important part of the toolkit.

Around a third of homes in England do not have off-street parking, making it extremely difficult to charge an electric vehicle overnight. As a result, on-street charge points like those being offered through this scheme have the potential to entice drivers to switch to electric.

Now government ministers Jesse Norman and Claire Perry are writing to council leaders to remind them about the scheme and highlight the opportunities that making electric vehicles accessible to their residents can bring.

The number of electric vehicles bought in the UK was up nearly 30% last year, and having committed to ending the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040, government is also making sure we have the right infrastructure in place to support drivers.

A set of schemes for electric vehicles were announced in the Autumn Budget in November, including a further £100 million to help consumers purchasing electric vehicles. Following that, government is today (January 12 2018) also announcing the extension of current grant rates for both the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, and Plug-in Car Grant which provides up to £4,500 to help motorists make the switch to electric.

Our Clean Growth Strategy, National Air Quality Plan and Industrial Strategy, all highlight the importance of electric vehicles, which is why the Prime Minister announced In December that the UK would host a Zero Emission Vehicle Summit in Autumn 2018.

All this work is part of our plan to meet long-term climate change and air quality targets and for the opportunities that new green industries can bring with jobs and growth. With 1 in every 5 battery electric vehicles sold in Europe in 2016 already built in the UK, we are already leading the way on the electric revolution.

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Published 12 January 2018