Public charging points for electric vehicles (EV) are few and far between in Wealden.
Department for Transport figures show there are only 12 public charging devices in the Wealden District Council area and three rapid charging devices.
To put those figures into context, it means there are only seven EV charge points per 100,000 of population in Wealden.
Neighbouring local authority areas:
- Tunbridge Wells Borough: 18 per 100,000
- Eastbourne Borough: 16 per 100,000
- Lewes District: 15 per 100,000
- Mid Sussex District: 14 per 100,000
- Rother District: 9 per 100,000
The figure for the whole of the UK is 23 per 100,000.
There is no EV point in Uckfield.
Wealden District Council has initiatives under way and recognises the need for public sector intervention.
EV forecourt idea for Uckfield by-pass
Exploratory moves to establish an electric vehicle recharging forecourt on the Uckfield by-pass were revealed earlier this year but, as yet, have not been taken forward.
A company called Gridserve asked Wealden District Council for what is known as a “screening opinion” on the environmental impact and was told the council did not think such a development would “give rise to significant environmental effects”.
Gridserve was told any planning application would need to take account of the effect of any development on the Ashdown Forest.
We contacted a spokesman for the company last month but he said there was no further information at this point.
As well as the forecourt – off the roundabout at the end of Bell Farm Road on the by-pass – there would also be a solar ‘farm’.
District council looking at options
Wealden District Council has an electric vehicle recharging point at its HQ in Hailsham.
It is also seeking to have EV charging points incorporated into new housing developments.
It has been monitoring the uptake of electric vehicles and the provision of public charging infrastructure across the area for some time and recognises the need for public sector intervention as well as private investment.
A council spokesperson told UckfieldNews: “Extensive rural areas like Wealden can face high grid connection costs and lower numbers of potential customers.
“This could limit private sector investment in creating a charge point infrastructure.
“To date, we have installed one charge point in a council-owned car park and worked closely with the OLEV-funded Energise project (managed by Sussex Air) to facilitate the installation of two rapid chargers in the district.
“As a District Council we are unable to install on-street charging infrastructure.
“However, the council owns a number of public car parks which may present opportunities for ‘destination’ and ‘en-route’ charging facilities, as well as possible alternatives to home charging. We are exploring these options through the development of a wider strategy.
“The Council has already undertaken a public consultation exercise (on behalf of its neighbouring Districts and Boroughs) to gain an understanding of the barriers to electric vehicle uptake, EV driver preferences, the likely demand for infrastructure in the near future and public views on installing infrastructure on local authority owned property.
“As with many other local authorities, Wealden District Council has declared a Climate Emergency.
“We are currently finalising our carbon projection modelling and identifying intervention options to achieve a route to net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Our initial action plan is due to be reported to Cabinet in December. With transport making up the largest proportion of emissions in the District, the switch to low emission vehicles, along with reducing overall vehicle use and increasing walking and cycling, will be a significant element in achieving our net-zero ambitions going forward.
“We welcome the involvement and encouragement of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in helping local authorities to provide the necessary EV charging infrastructure to achieve a step change in take up of electric vehicles.”
Rapid charging devices are those rated at 43kW or above, including ‘ultra rapid’ chargers of more than 100kW. Fast charging devices are those rated at 7-22kW. Slow devices are typically 3.6kW.
Charging devices not open to the public, ie. private or domestic chargers, are excluded
A charging device may have more than one charging connector and be able to charge more than one vehicle at a time.