Alliance Reps Concerned At EV Charging Roadblocks
South Down Alliance Party representatives have been meeting with companies delivering electric vehicle infrastructure to understand why so few charging points are currently available in Newry Mourne and Down District Council area.
Downpatrick Alliance Councillor Cadogan Enright said: “Last year Alliance had a motion passed in Council setting a target of either 1% of our 8,000 parking spots to be EV charging points, or to have one charging point in every one of our 181 carparks from South Armagh to Strangford Village and North to Saintfield and Killyleagh.
“In May of this year, Council management responded saying they could not afford to implement these targets as the cost would be up to £2.7 million.
“Following our investigations, it is now clear to us that these projections are incorrect.
“EV charging companies want to lease parking spots from Council, sharing revenue from charging with the Council as their landlord.
“Alliance will now seek to set new EV infrastructure targets, requesting Council management to start renting out some of our parking spots in our 51-town centre car-parks and selectively across up to 150 other Council car-parks in our district.
“This will to tourism and business, as well as allowing those living in apartments or other properties where home charging is problematical to switch to electric cars.”
Newry Alliance spokesperson Helena Young said: “We need a fit-for-purpose EV infrastructure in place right across our Council area.
“We have only 13 charge points in Newry Mourne and Down District Council and they are poorly maintained.
“Current public-sector collaborations and funding opportunities are likely to deliver only 20 more over the next few years. This is totally at odds with what is happening only 10 miles away from Newry, South of the boarder”.
South Down MLA Patrick Brown also commented and said: “By 2030 we will only be able to buy electric cars.
“Therefore to be competitive in tourism, business and just to give all car owners the same equal chance to be able to charge their cars, we must deliver a 21st Century infrastructure in South Down.
“Most carparks are now owned or controlled by Councils across NI and this issue can no longer be dodged.
“We have only one rapid charger across our whole area in Newry’s Fiveways filling station. And this has been off-line for the last 2 years.”
Councillor Enright added: “We believe that tranches of 20 parking spots must be offered to all EV Companies for a 2-year period to assess their offerings, service and value for money to Council.
“After that, long-term contracts should be made with the best of them.