Council secures support from Local Energy Hub for electric vehicle charging infrastructure feasibility study
The Forest of Dean District Council has secured advisory services and capacity support from the South West (SW) Energy Hub to the value of £5000. Support from the SW Energy Hub and consultancy Element Energy will kick off the assessment of feasibility for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the Council owned car parks throughout the District.
The council will take the learning from this project into the development of a strategy for installing Electric Vehicle Charging Points (EVCPs) and playing its role in supporting the increased uptake of EVs by those living and travelling to the district. EVs are one part of a transition to a carbon neutral district.
Cllr Chris McFarling, Joint Deputy Leader of the Council with responsibility for Climate Emergency, said “we are very thankful to the Hub for supporting us in developing EVCP infrastructure in more rural districts, such as our own. As stated in the Rapid Action Plan adopted in February 2020 we want to work with key stakeholders to improve electric vehicle and electric bike charging facilities in our district and support the transition to EVs.”
Jon Rattenbury, Programme Manager for the South West Energy Hub, said: “It is great to work with the council and Element Energy to assess EV charging opportunities in FoD and support the development of a deployment approach for the Council’s car parks.”
The Council also continues to move forward to reduce its carbon emissions from travel by changing the first of its pool cars to a hybrid.
Cllr Chris McFarling said “we have also taken an early step in a longer term strategy to reduce carbon emissions from council owned and operated vehicles, whilst also offering continued support to home-working and video conferencing.”
The move to a hybrid pool car not only lowers the Council’s carbon emissions and works towards the 2030 carbon neutral commitment but it also makes lease cost savings and contributes to reducing air pollution. In 2018/19 council leased pool cars contributed 8,226 kg CO2 towards the council’s annual carbon emissions. This simple step alone will therefore save 8.6% (711 kg CO2) in carbon emissions and £329 per year in lease costs. Emissions from the Council pool cars reduced 14% from April 2019 to March 2020 compared to the previous year (2018/19). This is due, in part, to the switch to a hybrid part way through the year but also due to the Council’s continued support of video conferencing.
Free trials of hybrid and electric vehicles are available at many car dealerships and it is possible to receive a ‘plug-in grant’ for many eligible low-emission vehicles. In addition, the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) offers grant schemes for the installation of home or workplace charge points. The locations of current charging points available in Gloucestershire can be viewed online at sites such as ZapMap.
For further information and ‘Top Tips’ on how to lower your carbon footprint view the council’s climate change webpage: www.fdean.gov.uk/residents/environment/climate-change/top-tips/.
The South West Energy Hub supports organisations across the South West to identify, develop and implement energy projects. It is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and hosted by the West of England Combined Authority. For more information, visit www.swenergyhub.org.uk