As part of its continuing work to address climate change, West Suffolk Council has secured further investment to boost the availability of Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers.

The Council is committed to improving the charging infrastructure to support residents and businesses in having the confidence to switch to EVs or hybrid vehicles.

Now it has installed its 46th charger – and with EC charge points already available at 15 locations across West Suffolk, it is working to bring in more in the coming months.

The latest chargers which run on the BP Pulse network, have been placed at The Corn Exchange car park in Haverhill. The Council is working to install chargers in Brandon later this year and is looking at how it can deliver more across other locations.

Cllr John Griffiths, Leader at West Suffolk Council said: “The Government plans to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030 with new hybrid vehicles allowed until 2035. Here in West Suffolk, we want to make the choice easier for residents and businesses now”.

“We recognise that given that West Suffolk is a rural area, for some people, some journeys aren’t always possible by any other means than by car. So, while we continue to encourage people to walk, cycle, or use public transport we are making charging points more readily available”.

“We have now either directly invested in, or secured investment in 46 chargers at 15 locations across West Suffolk and we are looking to bring in more. These include Rapid Chargers in Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Mildenhall, alongside EV charges in Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, and Newmarket. In addition to this we are continuing to trial EV lamppost chargers to support residents recharging their EV while at home”.

“West Suffolk Council also offers a Greener Business Grant which means it will match fund a business up to £1,000 towards the cost of an electric vehicle or company charge point. All of this is part of our wider work around reducing air pollution, work which includes reducing vehicle idling and encouraging greater use of clean energy particularly solar energy.”

EVs are cheaper to run than petrol or diesel vehicles – about 3p per mile instead of about 10p a mile on average. Technology has dramatically improved meaning that EVs can make many long journeys on a single charge and they are becoming a more realistic option not just for residents but for businesses including trades people and small-scale suppliers. On top of this, by switching to EVs people are helping reduce air pollution which cost this country at least £16 billion in health costs each year according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

West Suffolk Council’s Cabinet agreed an ambitious environmental action plan in July 2020, that included securing more EV charge points across West Suffolk, while a car parks review in 2019, also saw car parks users and other local stakeholders call for the improved availability of EV chargers including in Haverhill and Brandon.

The new EV chargers in Haverhill have been paid for through £27,500 of funding secured from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and BP Chargemaster. Four are live while another four will be switched on as use increases.