Wednesday 24 July 2019

'No plans' for electric car charge point

Cllr Jennifer Whitmore
Cllr Jennifer Whitmore
Deputy Stephen Donnelly

Mary Fogarty

The Minister for Climate Action and Environment has failed to address a request for the installation of an electric vehicle charging point in Greystones when responding to local Councillor Jennifer Whitmore.

Cllr Whitmore had written to Minister Richard Bruton asking that he direct the ESB to install a charging point in the district as part of the €20 million funding roll-out for charging points across the country. She included a petition containing 1,000 names on it asking for points in the District.

In his written response, Mr Bruton said that providing adequate infrastructure is indeed 'critical to ensure the continued growth in the uptake of electric vehicles'.

He wrote about over 650 points which currently exist nationally; upgrading of existing points; the fact that there are charging points available at hotels and other destinations nationwide; and the fact that there is funding available for public charging in local communities through the Better Energy Communities Scheme. The scheme supports community-based partnerships including local business, enterprises and local authorities.

The minister said that a number of local authorities have already installed charging points and also wrote about a grant of €600 available for the installation of a home charger.

The lack of an answer to her specific query about a charging point has led Cllr Whitmore to one conclusion.

'It looks like there are no plans to install any EV charging point in the Greystones District in the near future,' she said.

'This is obviously very disappointing. It's critical that the district get sufficient EV charging infrastructure to encourage people to make the switch.'

Meanwhile, Deputy Stephen Donnelly has written to the CEO of ESB Networks, Pat O'Doherty, to outline the lack of charging points in Greystones and suggest that more drivers might switch to electric vehicles if it was easier to recharge them.

'The government has recently allocated €20 million to add more charging points around the country. We know that priority is being given to locations along main roads but it makes sense for areas like Greystones, Delgany, Kilcoole and Newcastle to be included in the expansion plans also,' said Deputy Donnelly.

'In my letter to the ESB, I outlined the fact that there are three main reasons to install more car chargers in our area. Number one, it's good value for money. Our high population density means large numbers of drivers could be catered for in a relatively small space.

'Number two, we are close to major transport routes. Greystones and the surrounding villages are located close to the N11 and M50 so chargers here could help cut down on so-called "range anxiety" experienced by drivers worried about reaching their next place to plug-in.

'And number three, we could lead by example. Wicklow was the first county in Ireland to declare a Climate Change and Biodiversity Crisis after the motion originated in the Greystones Municipal District.

Deputy Donnelly said that there is a high level of demand for electric vehicles in the community and that many constituents have told him they would consider switching to electric vehicles if chargers were easier to access.

'In this regard, Greystones has the potential to become a leader in this field and could inspire other communities to follow suit.'

'It is unfair to expect people to change their behaviour and shift towards more environmentally friendly transportation, often at significant cost, while failing to provide them with the necessary facilities to do so,' said Deputy Donnelly.

'My office has already been in touch with the ESB ecars Team who told us that locations for the new chargers are being chosen as we speak. This is the perfect time therefore to push for more charging points in Greystones and I'm delighted that the we've now made the reasons clear to the company's CEO.'

Bray People