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Environment / Wishart wants to see investment in ‘electric car revolution’

DVLA figures show uptake is slow among isles drivers

A vehicle charging point at the Fort Road car park. Photo: Shetland News

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart has called on the Scottish Government to help “kickstart an electric car revolution” after figures from the DVLA showed just 54 electric cars are registered in the islands.

The vehicle licensing agency showed only 0.36 per cent of cars registered in Shetland were electric, while in the second half of 2020 only 1.66 per cent of all car insurance enquiries from the islands were for electric vehicles.

Wishart said investing in infrastructure should begin with installing reliable rapid chargers across all islands.

“Cars are not a luxury in Shetland because of our geography, and these figures show that if we are to see more electric cars on Shetland’s roads then investing in infrastructure is the first step that needs done sooner rather than later,” the Liberal Democrat MSP said.

“At the moment there are only two rapid charge points, one in Lerwick and one in Yell. If people are to have the confidence that electric cars are practical then we need to make sure that rapid charges are readily available across the isles.”

She added that the Scottish Parliament would be making decisions to “turn ambition to tackle climate change into reality” over the next five years and Shetland needed to see ambitious government investment because “limited infrastructure will mean limited outcomes”.

Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee chairman Ryan Thomson said the islands’ active travel strategy had already highlighted that “sustainable transport hub options, including EV charging points, are required to encourage electric vehicle use as we evolve away from using fossil fuels to power our vehicles”.

“I’d highlight the award from the town centre capital grant fund to town centre projects in Lerwick which include to install further vehicle charging points,” Thomson said.

“These, of course, will be required all across Shetland, and the SIC and ZetTrans will continue to see a roll out of required infrastructure which will allow people within Shetland to purchase electric vehicles with confidence going forward.”