Electric Car Scheme for Councils

January 26, 2018

Local authorities have been asked to do more to reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of air after it was revealed that just five councils in the UK have taken advantage of an electric car scheme. It was launched in 2016 by the Department of Transport and provides funding to local authorities to buy and install electric charging stations.

Concerned ministers have taken action by writing to local authorities throughout the UK urging them to make use of the scheme, which makes up to 75% of the cost to obtaining and installing charge points. However the remaining cost of 25% must be funded by a public or private source, which many don’t have access to.

 “We’re in the early stages of an electric revolution in the UK transport sector, and connectivity is at its heart.”

Focus on Fleets

There’s a massive £4.5 million still available for the remaining councils, which is enough for thousands of extra stations says the Department of Transport. With a large focus on electric vehicles after the Autumn Statement was made, the scheme is a vital component to the country taking more care when it comes to emissions.

It’s estimated that around one third of homes in England do not have off-street parking, which makes it difficult for residents to charge their cars without on-street charging stations. It is believed that this scheme may entice drivers to switch to electric.

Electric Cars More Appealing

Matthew Trevaskis, head of electric vehicles at the Renewable Energy Association, said: “A sea-change in transport is underway but creating a mass-market for EVs is a chicken-and-egg scenario.

“Prices for new electric cars are falling and widespread uptake will bring benefits for the UK and consumers, but a viable charging infrastructure needs to be in place for them to really become commonplace across the country.

“Local Authorities have a key role to play in supporting uptake and action should be taken to ensure that all funding for this sector is used. Local Authorities need to be thinking about a rapid expansion of charging facilities at workplaces, at supermarkets, along major roadways and in other retail spaces.

“Planning legislation including the ‘Merton Rule’ gives them the capability to introduce building standards that go beyond central government requirements, for example compelling developers to create buildings with onsite solar and EV charge points.”

Minister Jesse Norman added: “We’re in the early stages of an electric revolution in the UK transport sector, and connectivity is at its heart.”