SWINDON is stalling on introducing charging points for electric cars – but the council is pushing for more to be built in every new housing development.
A new government league table on the UK’s electric infrastructure from the Department for Transport estimates that Swindon had 23 public charging devices around town at the start of October.
This is a rate of 10 devices per 10,000 people – significantly lower than the UK average of 23 charging points per 10,000 people.
However, the borough council hopes to lead the way forward by insisting on every new home built in the town having the capability to install an electric charging point for vehicles.
In April, a Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “Most people charge their electric vehicles at home so a high number of public charging points is not always necessary.
“We are currently in the process of reviewing our development parking standards, which are due to be formally adopted later this year and will require charging points to be installed in new developments.
“Although the number of people using charging points in the council’s public car parks has risen steadily over the past three years, demand is still low with an average of just over one person a day using each charging point.
“Each public charging point currently available for use is capable of charging more than one vehicle at a time and more than two vehicles per day.”
The area counts five rapid charge points among its electric infrastructure, which can crank most electric car batteries up to 100 per cent in under half an hour.
These are much faster than regular devices, which can take up to eight hours to charge a car.
Local authorities in the UK have access to a £5 million fund to help build up their electric infrastructure.
More than 100 local authorities around the country still have just 10 or fewer public charge points per 100,000 residents.
The Department for Transport used information from the platform Zap-Map, which says it has details of around 95 per cent of publicly accessible charge points, to put together the table.
Across the UK, there are more than 15,000 charge points, including 2,500 rapid devices. That gives an average rate of 23 per 100,000 people.
The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England, said it was determined to tackle the air pollution “public health emergency”, but that electric charging points were only part of the solution.
It added: “The availability of electric power points in public places will be driven by local markets and suitability for charging points as well as different needs for power supply infrastructure.”
Transport minister Grant Shapps said: “Your postcode should play no part in how easy it is to use an electric car and I’m determined that electric vehicles become the new normal for drivers.
“It’s good news there are now more charging locations than petrol stations, but the clear gaps in provision are disappointing.
“I urge local councils to take advantage of all the government support on offer to help ensure drivers in their area don’t miss out.”