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Millions in funding for electric car charge points ‘is being ignored by councils’

Motors | Published:

Ministers urge local authorities to apply for cash from £4.5m fund in a bid to reduce carbon emissions

Millions of pounds of government funding aimed at building thousands of electric car charging points is going unclaimed by local councils, it has emerged.

Now civic chiefs are being urged to apply for grants to do more to lower emissions.

Transport minister Jesse Norman and Claire Perry, minister for energy and clean growth, have written to councils urging them to take up the scheme, which makes available up to 75 per cent of the cost of buying and installing charge points. Local authorities fund the remainder through public and private sources.

The Department for Transport launched the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme in 2016, offering money for local authorities to buy and put in electric car charge points.

But the government has now revealed that the take-up has been “extremely disappointing”, meaning people up and down the country are being denied the opportunity to take advantage of the technology. Drivers in just five local authority areas – Portsmouth, Kensington and Chelsea, Cambridge, Luton and Kettering – are reaping the benefit.

Norman said: “We are in the early stages of an electric revolution in the UK transport sector, and connectivity is at its heart.

“Millions of homes in the UK do not have off-street parking, so this funding is important to help local councils ensure that all their residents can take advantage of this revolution.”

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Westminster says the scheme is vital if the country is to move to a carbon-free future, and on-street charge points, such as those being offered through the scheme, have the potential to entice drivers to switch to electric.

A host of support schemes for electric vehicles was announced in the Autumn Budget, including a £400m Charging Investment Infrastructure Fund and more money to help people buy electric cars, as part of the government’s plan to meet long-term climate change and air quality targets.

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