Alliance Party representatives from Downpatrick and Newry met with the EV Association NI last week to discuss the lack of progress in rolling out EV infrastructure in Newry Mourne and Down District Council. There are now over 10,000 electric vehicles across NI.
Downpatrick Councillor Cadogan Enright and Newry’s Helena Young met the EV Association at Alliance MLA Patrick Brown’s constituency office in Warrenpoint to discuss progress.
Councillor Enright explained; “Last year Alliance Councillors pushed through a target of between 80 and 180 new charging points to be spread across Councils nearly 200 car parks and 8000 parking spaces from South Armagh to Strangford and North to Saintfield. Since 2014 Council has had responsibility for the overwhelming majority of public parking in our Council area and EV charging provision is clearly a Council responsibility”.
Newry’s Helena Young agreed saying; “Following the meeting with the EV Association, Cadogan and I met with Council Management and discovered that our Council EV targets had been discarded in May on the basis that Council Could not afford the cost. Alliance in South Down is clear that is no cost in expanding the EV charging network. Council Management is badly mis-informed. EV Charging Network companies would like to rent parking spaces from Council and even share charging revenue with Council. We will be investigating this and bringing forward new proposals”.
Mark McCall of the EV Association said “Back in 2011, NI got off to a good start with a consortium including NIE ESB and DARD delivering 160 charging points. But we stagnated. We are now badly lagging behind RoI, Scotland, England and Wales. There are only 13 in Newry Mourne and Down District Council’s area, but many are not working. There are more rapid chargers in the small Scottish City of Dundee than there are in the whole of NI. The existing current cross-Council consortium is likely to deliver only 20 more charging points across South Down over the next few years. But with the phasing out of new diesel and petrol cars due by 2030, this is clearly not enough”.
South Down Alliance MLA Patrick Brown commented; “Most EV owners have charging points in their front gardens. They can leave every morning with between 200 and 600 miles of range depending on the car they drive. But official estimates say about 30% of people who live in apartments, terraced houses and the like need a public charging infrastructure. Tourists and business people visiting this area also need to know they can charge whist they are here. Since RPA in 2014, car-parks are clearly a Council responsibility and far from running away from the problem, they should be embracing this as a new revenue stream and an opportunity to reduce Council rates.”