The council is very pleased to report that it has received 50 expressions of interest from local communities across the county which want to host new electric vehicle charging points. This follows the launch of the Suffolk 2020 funded project in September.
Suffolk has long held ambitions to Create the Greenest County and as part of the Suffolk 2020 fund, which is all about investing in community projects to support the council’s climate emergency declaration and improve Suffolk for all residents in years to come, this year £300,000 has been invested into creating 100 fast charging points in rural areas of the county. Reaching 50 expressions of interest so quickly demonstrates great progress for the project and suggests that many communities can see the real benefits in being part of the Plug In Suffolk scheme.
At present, the majority of EV charging points are concentrated in our larger towns such as Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft, but given the new expressions of interest, it is hoped that new fast charging points can begin to be installed across a range of more rural locations including Beccles, Wilby, Horringer, Orford, Long Melford and Tuddenham St Martin.
The strong interest comes from local Parish Councils and communities who can see the potential benefit in hosting charging points at rural village halls, community buildings, sports clubs and even places of worship besides commercial buildings and shops elsewhere. The council has begun to undertake site surveys and plan for the initial installations that will take place in the coming weeks. Once installed, each host community takes a share of the income generated by drivers who pay to charge their cars in the locality.
Ultra-low emission vehicle ownership has nearly trebled in the last three years within Suffolk and this is set to continue to grow even faster with Government vehicle initiatives. In total, there are around 422,000 cars licensed in Suffolk, but currently just under 2,500 of these are ultra-low emission cars. With an improved charging network across the county, the council believes this will encourage greater electric vehicle ownership in Suffolk in years to come.
Councillor Richard Rout, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council, said:
“This project is a key part of the council’s commitment to addressing the climate emergency that was declared in 2019, getting accessible electric vehicle charging points located across Suffolk to support residents and communities as they make informed choices in the use of greener transport options.
“Encouraging electric vehicle use is one way we can contribute to better air quality, the reduction of carbon emissions and cutting down our reliance on fossil fuels, all of which support the council’s climate emergency declaration and ambition to create the Greenest County.
“By putting the infrastructure in place I hope we enable more people to choose electric vehicles. With fewer petrol/diesel vehicles on our roads, Suffolk’s air quality improves and we contribute fewer carbon emissions.
“I am very pleased with these initial expressions of interest. It give me great confidence that we have made the right investment to begin breaking down some of the anxieties and barriers residents may have about owning an electric vehicle.”
For more information on the opportunities for residents and communities surrounding the ‘Plug In Suffolk’ initiative and to apply to join the network, please visit www.greensuffolk.org/plug-in-suffolk