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Only five councils have used government funding to install electric car charging points

EV revolution stalled by councils

COUNCILS HAVE come under fire for failing to install roadside charging points for electric cars.

Ministers said that only five local authorities had taken advantage of government funding to increase the number of on-street chargers for electric cars.

The lack of take-up has been “extremely disappointing”, meaning that motorists around the country are being denied the chance to “take advantage of the technology”, the government said.

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The government offered cash to improve the charging infrastructure more than a year ago and £4.5m is still available. The money funds 75% of any charging point installation.

In November, Sadiq Khan criticised councils for failing to install charging points. Speaking to a Commons committee, the London mayor said that some councils refused to allow chargers to be installed because of concerns that they would “clutter” the street. He wants operators to be given new powers to install roadside devices without having to seek planning permission.

An extensive public charging network is seen as vital to raise the number of electric or hybrid cars on UK roads.

The latest figures showed that 119,821 green cars were sold in 2017, up by 35% in 12 months. They still make up a tiny fraction of all vehicles, with 20 times as many petrol or diesel models sold in the UK last year.

“The London mayor wants operators to be given new powers to install roadside chargers without having to seek planning permission”

The government said that a third of homes in England did not have off-street parking, making it difficult for many car owners to charge vehicles using a domestic power supply.

The Department for Transport is writing to councils urging them to take advantage of the funding. It said that chargers could be installed inside adapted lampposts to make the best use of roadside space.

Only Portsmouth, Cambridge, Luton, Kettering and Kensington and Chelsea in London have taken up funding so far.

Jesse Norman, the transport minister, said: “We are in the early stages of an electric revolution and connectivity is at its heart. Millions of homes do not have off-street parking, so this funding is important to help councils ensure that all their residents can take advantage of this revolution.”

Jack Cousens, of the AA, said: “Eight out of ten drivers say a lack of charging points is a reason why they will not buy an electric car, so the poor take-up of these grants is disappointing.”

Graeme Paton

This article first appeared in The Times

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