As part of meeting green objectives for the county, Wiltshire Council have unanimously approved a £275,000 capital cash investment into EV charging infrastructure.
The funding injection will bolster Wiltshire’s delivery of EV charging points (EVCPs) up to 2024.
It was also proposed that the council introduces a grant scheme to empower city, town and parish councils to build on-street EVCPs on council-owned land.
Suggesting up to £2,500 be made available per site, with an initial total funding value of £70,000 (though with opportunity to increase depending on demand), it would significantly accelerate the installation of EV infrastructure across the county.
The council would then operate and maintain those EVCPs and actively seek opportunities for home to street charging.
Currently, the local authority has 76 EVCPs in its car parks, which are managed externally.
Many of these are several years old though and due to the speed at which EV technology is advancing, already may be inefficient and in line for replacement too.
These ECVPs are currently operated by the council free of charge, at a cost of £1,000 per year. Wiltshire Council suggested it may look into charging a rate of 35p per Kw/H used.
This money generated would then be committed to a ringfenced fund to improve and expand the current infrastructure.
All of this would then influence and contribute into a future, more detailed EV strategy for the region, including greater efforts to promote electric vehicle use and incorporating EVCPs into newbuild recommendations.
Cllr John Hubbard said: “"The reality is, what happens with technology, we are in a period of time where electric cars will need to be charged.
"Hydrogen may or may not come, we don't know. Something else may come, we don't know.
"But right now electric is the solution, it's a growing solution and the government has admitted that fossil fuels will disappear from the equation.
“So we've got to cater for electric."
Following the meeting, Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Dr Mark McClelland, added: “This new strategy will greatly improve the EV charging infrastructure throughout Wiltshire.
“It will also enable local town, parish and city councils to identify suitable locations for chargers in their communities, which will allow them to apply for grant funding to install chargers where they are most needed.
“This infrastructure plan will play a significant role in reducing Wiltshire’s carbon emissions and in encouraging more people to make the move to electric vehicles, and we look forward to the chargers being installed in the near future.”
PSE recently hosted a virtual event all around public sector decarbonisation, including dedicated discussions around transport and EV infrastructure. Watch content from the day on demand here.