Better availability of charging points will encourage more people to buy electric says councillor

More charging points for electric vehicles (EVs) are on their way for Hastings.

Maya Evans. Installing EV charging points shows the councils commitment to tackling climate change she says.

On Tuesday members of Hastings Borough Council’s (HBC) ruling cabinet approved spending of £35,000 to install charging points in Priory Street and in the Carlisle underground car parks.

For Councillor Maya Evans, the cabinet’s climate change champion the investment in charging points is, she says, a demonstration of how seriously HBC takes the issue of climate change, which she described as “the biggest threat to the plant.”

Last year HBC committed itself to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and according to Ms Evans encouraging people into electric vehicles will be a big step towards achieving that: “Twenty six per cent of the carbon emitted in this town is from vehicles,” she told cabinet colleagues.

She says the Covid-19 crisis has raised people’s awareness of the importance of respiratory health which is another reasons why it is now so important to reduce carbon emissions across the town.

Tesco has installed EV charging points at its Church Wood Drive store.

But the new charging points being installed with this £35,000 investment will, says Ms Evans mainly be for tourists and visitors to the town. She urged the town’s supermarkets to install charging points in their car parks and she called on East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to become more active in creating the infrastructure that would allow residents ‘on-street’ charging to take place.

At the moment if you live in a terraced house or in a flat it is impossible to charge your vehicle at home as the law forbids charging cables on pavements or being suspended above the pavement.

Councillor Peter Chowney who told members he owned an rechargeable vehicle himself welcomed the move saying it has been difficult to use the existing network of charging points, “…it’s been a bit like driving in to an Esso petrol station but before you can fill up you have to be a member of the Esso club,” he told the meeting.

He also called on ESCC to press ahead with using the grants that are available to councils to develop on-street facilities: “ESCC is one of the only councils not to have taken up grants for on-street EV charging points. The majority of people in Hastings do not have off-street spaces. Creation of on-street charging would certainly encourage people to buy EVs,” he said.

Councillor Margi O’Callaghan said she believed that once the infrastructure for charging points was improved then more people would be willing to buy EVs.

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