Concerns have been raised over the level of ambition of an electric vehicle charging strategy to “ensure no one is left behind” across North Yorkshire when sales of new petrol and diesel engine vehicles are banned from 2030.
Opposition members of North Yorkshire Council have warned the authority will need to redouble its efforts to ensure there are sufficient publicly available charging points after admitting its plan for a comprehensive network is heavily dependent on funding from Whitehall.
The warnings come ahead of North Yorkshire Council’s executive meeting on Tuesday, May 2, to consider pushing forward a broad plan designed to provide a comprehensive network of publicly available charging points across in North Yorkshire, despite more remote areas lacking the population or infrastructure to attract operators.
The strategy, which the authority has described as “ambitious,” would see it seeking central government grant funding to provide a public sector contribution towards the installation costs with charge point operators providing additional capital funding.
An officers’ report to the executive states the slow rise in electric (EV) chargers compared with EV uptake in North Yorkshire is linked to the county’s rural nature, high grid connection costs and capacity issues making the sites commercially unattractive.
The report states: “It is anticipated that the public sector will need to fund 1,529 of the overall charge point requirements by 2030 at an approximate cost of £10.3m.
“We will look to collaborate with the private sector at a regional scale to best build a portfolio of more and less desirable sites, ensuring equity of provision and reduce the emergence of gaps in the network.”
It proposes the strategy to include investigating and deliver innovative ideas to address the challenges of creating charge points in rural areas as well as examining options to serve households that do not have access to publicly available off-street parking.
The report states the council has been given £3.2m of government grants, while further bids potentially worth more than £5m are under way.
The report concludes: “The delivery of the strategy is heavily dependent upon securing access to government and charge point operator capital funding. Failure to secure external funding puts the delivery of the strategy at risk.”
The council’s executive member for highways and transport, Councillor Keane Duncan, said: “The rural nature of North Yorkshire means delivering charging points is more difficult, but we are ready to rise to the challenge to ensure our area does not fall behind.
“After extensive feedback from the public, we are looking to adopt an ambitious strategy.”
The authority’s leader of the opposition, Councillor Bryn Griffiths, welcomed the proposals for the 70 charging points, but said they needed to be placed in easily accessible sites, rather than “tucked away in the corner of a car park”.
He said: “What’s proposed falls far short of meeting the requirement of 724 publicly available chargers in less than two years and I feel the council’s record on getting government grant bids approved is not good and they will need to get other funding to support it.”
Councillor Kevin Foster, leader of the council’s Green group, said the strategy should include the authority lobbying local businesses to install electic vehicle charging points, and introducing it as a planning request for housing and commercial developments.
He said: “I hope this is just the start of further developments of electric vehicle charging points, rather than the answer to it. “