21st October 2021

Somerset West and Taunton Council secures £136k grant towards Electric Vehicle charging project

Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT)’s Climate Change team has successfully secured a government grant worth £136,000 to boost the roll-out of Electric Vehicle (EV) charge points in council-owned car parks.

The grant, which is administered by the Energy Savings Trust on behalf of the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, was awarded as part of the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme and is available to local authorities to increase the availability of plug-in charging infrastructure for residents without access to off-street parking.

Recent research estimates that 80% of EV charging occurs off-street in garages and driveways at home, however, off-street parking is unavailable to many residents in the UK. 1

By installing charge points in public car parks, residents without off-street parking are no longer constrained in their transition towards zero-emission vehicles.

The grant covers up to 75% of capital costs and over the coming months, will enable the council to install multiple 22kW fast charging points designated for car parks in Minehead, Porlock, Taunton, Watchet, Wellington, Williton and Wiveliscombe.

The additional charge points will supplement those already installed or near completion at Deane House and Blackbrook Sports Centre in Taunton; Exmoor House in Dulverton; and Alexandra Road in Minehead.

The roll-out of EV charging infrastructure is a key action within the council’s Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience (CNCR) Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions across the district.

The roll-out is further supported by the county-wide approved Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy, which provides a blueprint for the charging network needed in Somerset.

Executive Member for Climate Change, Cllr Dixie Darch, said: “This welcome funding boost supports our commitment towards making Somerset West and Taunton carbon-neutral by 2030 and will be used to supplement the charge points we’ve already installed, creating a network of accessible locations across the district.

“Together, they’ll allow electric vehicle owners to make longer and cleaner journeys without the anxiety of potentially running out of power and we hope it encourages other residents, particularly those without access to home chargers, to switch to electric vehicles as a more sustainable method of travel.”

SWT’s Director of External Operations and Climate Change, Andrew Pritchard, added: “As we get closer to 2030, we’re anticipating an increase in electric vehicle ownership so it’s important we support this trend through the provision of more convenient and accessible charging points.

“As well as a reduction in carbon emissions, electric vehicles, alongside active ways of travelling such as cycling and walking, will help contribute to better air quality and less noise pollution in our towns.

“More charge points will also support our local businesses by enabling EV owners to top-up their vehicles whilst they shop locally.”