THERE are no immediate plans to make people pay to use public electric vehicle charging points in Shetland, with worries it would “send out the wrong message”.
Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) environment and estate manager Carl Symons said this was because the rollout of electric vehicles locally is “so low” and people need to be encouraged to make the leap.
He also told a meeting of the SIC’s environment and transport committee on Tuesday that the council’s fleet of electric vehicles is set to double in number later this year.
At the moment the council has nine electric vehicles, but a further 11 are set to be delivered la
ter this year.
Following a question from Lerwick South councillor Peter Campbell, Symons said there are “no immediate plans to roll out charging”.
“At this point in time, because the rollout of electric cars is so low in Shetland we felt that introducing charging wasn’t prudent and didn’t send out the right message,” he said.
“Administratively it probably would cost a significant sum of money to recover not very much, and again you’ve got the issue that we’re trying to get people to think about buying electric cars.”
Infrastructure director John Smith explained that some local authorities charge, and some do not.
Last year the UK Government announced the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030, with electric vehicles seen as the solution to reduce emissions.
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart recently called on the Scottish Government to help “kickstart an electric car revolution” after figures showed just 54 electric cars are registered in the islands.
There are a number of free to use electric vehicle charging points dotted across Shetland, from Unst to Dunrossness.
The popularity of points, however, varies drastically depending on their location, with chargers in Lerwick the most used.
A report to the environment and transport committee said that charging points at Cullivoe Pier, Lerwick town centre and Sumburgh Airport are nearing completion, as is an upgrade of the Bixter point.
Planning permission has been received for points at Voe and the Walls health centre, while further funding has been secured for more charging points, with six sites set to be targeted in 2021/22.
Councillors were also told that funding has been received for a further charge point at Church Road in Lerwick, subject to planning approval.
A draft report on the potential to use hydrogen fuel alternatives in the council’s vehicle fleet has also been produced.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 440 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News