New electric vehicle charging points for Hastings car parks
Hastings council leaders have challenged East Sussex County Council to install on-street electric car charging points.
The comments came at a meeting on Tuesday (September 1), where Hastings Borough Council’s cabinet agreed to allocate funds to install new electric car charging points in two town centre car parks.
In all, the decision could see up to 12 new charging points installed at the Carlisle Underground and Priory Street multi-storey car parks.
Cllr Maya Evans, the council’s lead member for natural environment and leisure, said: “As pointed out in the report, the charging facilities are mainly for our visitors coming to the town, for our tourists, which is why they are located mainly on the seafront.
“We know that residents [who have their own electric vehicles] within the town have their own facilities at home. But for a huge proportion of residents, such as myself as I live in a flat, it is not possible to charge an electric vehicle at home.
“On-street charging is a key part of the infrastructure we need to put into place. That responsibility and that power lies with East Sussex County Council.
“I would really like to take this opportunity to really urge East Sussex County Council to take up any funding available to them from central government.
“Already there has been a great deal of funding that has been made available, but unfortunately that hasn’t been taken up by [the] county.”
Peter Chowney, the council’s lead member for finance, added: “East Sussex County Council is, if not the only, one of the very few councils that have not taken up these grants for on-street EV charging at all.”
Under a government scheme, local authorities can apply for a grant to cover part of the capital costs of installing charge points for residents who lack off-street parking.
Currently councils can apply for up to £6,500 per chargepoint or up to £7,500 per chargepoint in certain circumstances.
East Sussex County Council said: “The county council does not currently provide on-street charging points for electric vehicles.
“We recognise that there is a growing level of interest in this area and that greater availability of accessible electric vehicle charging points is key to increasing the uptake of EV.
“During 2020/2021 we will be continuing to develop our approach to support electric vehicles in East Sussex.”
At the meeting, Hastings cabinet members agreed to allocate up to £35,000 for the installation of electric car charging stations at the Carlisle Underground and Priory Street multi-storey car parks.
The funding would come on top of a £15,000 grant for the same purpose, which has been provisionally awarded through the government’s Town Board Accelerator Fund programme.
When combined, the funding could see up to 12 new charging points installed at the two car parks.
The majority – 10 of the 12 – would be installed at the Priory Street multi-storey car park, with the Carlisle underground car park only able to accommodate two charging stations with its current electrical capacity.
According to the council report, work on the project in its current form would be contingent on the government approving the £15,000 grant from the accelerator fund. While the grant has been approved provisionally, final confirmation of the funding is not due until late September.
If funding is approved, the charging points would be likely to be installed early next year, council papers say.
Cllr Evans said: “We passed an emergency climate change motion last year in February and we pledged to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
“Since then we’ve produced a climate change strategy and action plan and the installation of EV charging points is a key part of that action plan for the town.
“We’ve found out that 26 per cent of carbon emissions within this town is produced by transport. By transferring our cars to electric vehicles, it would go a long way to reducing carbon emissions in the transport sector.
“We also know now that clean air is very important for our natural environment [and] reducing carbon, but also because of the Covid-19 crisis there has been an increased awareness around the issue of respiratory diseases.
“Obviously reducing air pollution helps with reducing the risk of respiratory diseases.”
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