WEST Devon Borough Council has been put on the spot about its green energy commitment as councillors voted to install electric car charging points in Okehampton and Tavistock.
Electric car charging points will be installed in Mill Road Car Park in Okehampton and Bedford Car Park in Tavistock as part of a county-wide project part-funded by £800,000 from the European Regional Development Fund.
However, Cllr Debo Sellis said she wanted assurance that the electricity supply for the charging points would definitely be coming from green sources.
‘What is the carbon footprint for the electricity for the electric cars?’ asked Cllr Sellis. ‘There are climate change deniers in our community and I do feel we need that evidence to be able to sell these ideas to residents.
‘We need to be able to say hand on heart this is better for our future and better for our children.’
The council is spending £8,000 on the charging points as part of its pledge to make the council carbon neutral by 2030
Cllr Terry Pearce, presenting the project to fellow councillors at the hub meeting on Tuesday, said the charging points would be 22kW dual charging points which people could use without a membership fee using contactless electronic payment. A contractor will supply the charging points on a ten-year lease, to include operating and maintenance costs.
Councillors heard that there was the possibility of having the faster 50kW charging points, although Cllr Tony Leech suggested that the slightly slower ones ‘might encourage people to stay in the town for longer’.
Phase two of the project could see electric car charging points also installed in the Abbey Car Park in Tavistock, Market Street Car Park in Okehampton and the public car parks in Hatherleigh and Chagford. The electric car charging points are being installed to make it easier for members of the public to make the switch to driving an electric vehicle.
These will be the first electric charge points provided in public car parks in West Devon, although there are some offered by private businesses for their customers and a Tavistock landlord has just installed an electric vehicle charging point at The Quay for its private and public sector tenants.
As well as Okehampton and Tavistock, the county wide project is to install the charge points in public car parks in Barnstaple, Sidmouth, Exmouth, Honiton, Seaton, South Molton, Ilfracombe, Totnes, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge, Dartmouth, Salcombe, Dawlish, Teignmouth and Newton Abbot.
News of the electric car charging point in the Mill Road car park in Okehampton has been welcomed by former town mayor Kay Bickley, who installed the first electric charge point in the town in 2010.
’It is good news that they are putting it in a car park because you are going to be there for an hour or so,’ she said. ’That is a reasonable amount of time to park to top up your car.’