Wealden District Council is looking for business partners to expand the network of electric vehicle (EV) charge points across the district.
Councillor Roy Galley, Cabinet member responsible for economic development, said:
Vehicle emissions are the biggest contributor to global warming in Wealden. They account for nearly half our CO2 emissions. In our response to the climate emergency, we must do more to encourage electric vehicle technology.
Wealden is one of the biggest districts in the South East but, as a largely rural area, commercial investment in public EV charging infrastructure has been slow. This leaves it at risk of lagging behind in the EV transition. However, the District Council owns and operates 36 public car parks, some of which could be used to provide EV charging points. There are currently 17 publically accessible car-charging connections across eight locations in Wealden. In Crowborough there are EV charging points in the railway station car park.
Cllr Galley added:
Looking to find private sector partners to share both the revenue and the risks involved in expanding the EV charging network in Wealden is the best way to proceed. It will also enable us to seek grant funding for areas where charge points won’t initially be commercially viable, and help us keep on top of the latest technology.
Following a recent Cabinet decision, Wealden will begin exploring partnership options with private sector organisations to expand the EV charging network, working with neighbouring councils where possible. It will pursue the grant options available through the Office of Low Emission Vehicles.
As well as encouraging residents who are not able to install their own off-road charging facility to switch to electric vehicles, increasing the public provision of EV charging points is seen as an important factor in supporting local tourism. The Government is planning to bring forward the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicle to 2035 at the latest.
An online map of the current EV charge points in Wealden can be found here on the Zap-Map website.