By Paul Homewood
h/t Steve B
Government writes to councils after only five apply for money from electric vehicle infrastructure funding pot, leaving more than £4.5m still available
The government has urged councils across the UK to make the most of a funding pot for electric vehicle charge points after an "extremely disappointing" take up.
Only five councils have applied for money from the On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme over the past 12 months, the government revealed today.
The Department for Transport (DfT) launched the scheme in December 2016, with £1.5m available to help local authorities with the costs of new electric vehicle infrastructure. A further £4.5m was added to the pot in November 2017.
Councils can apply for money to cover up to 75 per cent of the costs of buying and installing either entirely new charge points, up to £7,500 per chargepoint, or funding other systems such as adapting existing street lampposts to enable car charging.
However, only a handful of authorities have come forward for funding that could potentially help fund "thousands" of extra charge points and encourage the wider uptake of electric vehicles across the country, the government said.
Switching to electric road transport could help reduce carbon emissions as well as tackling air quality, but the lack of interest in the funding scheme meant "people up and down the country are being denied the opportunity to take advantage of the technology", the Ministers warned in a letter to council leaders.
The funding scheme was set up because, while householders with garages or driveways can install their own EV chargepoints, around a third of homes in England do not have off-street parking, making it much harder for these residents to charge overnight.
But of the five councils lodging funding applications – Portsmouth, Kensington & Chelsea, Cambridge, Luton and Kettering – only the first two have so far been given the green light for funding, accounting for around 110 charge points and roughly £150,000 funding from the pot, according to the DfT.
The government’s letter, from climate change and industry minister Claire Perry and transport minister Jesse Norman, urged councils to consider applying to the funding scheme.
"We are in the early stages of an electric revolution in the UK transport sector, and connectivity is at its heart," said Norman in a statement. "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."
But the Local Government Association’s (LGA) transport spokesman Martin Tett hit back against the government, stressing that while councils were keen to support EV uptake, they alone shouldn’t have to take on the role of replacing petrol stations.
Tett, a Buckinghamshire county councillor, explained that councils are faced with numerous competing priorities and have endured significant budget cuts over the past decade. With that in mind, more detail was needed on a "long-term properly funded plan" for EV infrastructure rollout, he said. "Any new responsibilities to ensure there is sufficient electric car charging infrastructure must be matched with adequate funding," said Tett. "Long term this must be a role for the private sector."
For some strange reason, the government thought that local councils would like to waste taxpayers’ money on charging points!
Fortunately the councils appear to have a lot more sense than our glorious leaders in Westminster.
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January 12, 2018 at 01:39PM