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Ashford Borough Council to expand Electric Vehicle Charger Provision

News from Ashford Borough Council:

Ashford Borough Council has been successful in a recent funding bid to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). This will help us to forge ahead with plans to increase the number of Electric Vehicle Charging Points (EVCPs) in council-managed car parks. 

The council has been awarded a grant with a maximum value of £174,300 to install on-street charge points for those wishing to charge their plug-in electric vehicles while parked in the borough council’s car parks. Cabinet has already approved the release of funds from its Climate Change Reserve Fund to install even more EVCPs in locations that are ineligible for funding through the OLEV scheme.

A key priority within the council’s Corporate Plan is to be a Green Pioneer to look at ways to tackle climate change with an aim to become carbon neutral by 2030. This is a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution on our roads.

By utilising this grant as well as directly funding additional charging points, we can support the global move towards electric vehicles, and work towards achieving our green objectives. 

Our current programme has three phases. The first, focuses on council-owned car parks, drawing on the financial support from the OLEV, namely those car parks that are accessible 24 hours a day for local residents. Now that this has been approved, a total of 29 points will be installed, working in collaboration with our external provider, BMM Energy Solutions Ltd.

The second phase, is to install EVCPs in locations that do not meet the current OLEV funding criteria and therefore must be fully funded by the council. Both phases will be delivered at the same time and the projects will begin in earnest now that we have received the OLEV’s decision. Once both phases are complete there will be 44 EVCPs covering 14 different locations, primarily within Ashford and Tenterden town centres. 

A total of 88 parking spaces will then be available for vehicle charging. The programme has the benefit of flexibility in that the chargers will be owned by the council and can be relocated to alternative locations if necessary. It is planned to have the charging points operational by summer 2022 at the latest.

After these phases, the council intends to turn its attention to other areas in an attempt to make electric vehicle charging more accessible, especially to those without access to private charging, for example, on our housing estates and on-street. 

Cllr Peter Feacey, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing, said: “Both Government and motoring organisations believe one of the biggest obstacles of owning and running an electric vehicle is the lack of infrastructure charging facilities.

“Ashford Borough Council has an ambitious carbon neutral target and needs to support its residents and visitors who would like to own and run an electric vehicle. As more people will be buying electric cars in the future, this project will help to facilitate this change.”