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Lack of EV chargers planned by UK councils, according to new figures

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New figures from Centrica have suggested that UK councils currently plan to install an underwhelming number of EV chargers over the next four years. 

Centrica sent a Freedom of Information request to over 400 councils, with the company finding that on average, each council planned to install just 35 chargers each. That would mean that in the next four years just 9,317 on-street EV chargers will be installed by local councils. 

The lack of urgency by UK councils comes not long after the UK Government announced that it would increase funding for charging infrastructure to ensure that drivers had places to charge after petrol and diesel vehicles cease being sold in the UK in 2030.

While the figures for almost all UK councils were disappointing, there was a clear regional disparity. According to Centrica’s data, Southern English councils are planning to install two and a half times as many on-street chargers than councils in Northern England, Northern Ireland, the Midlands, Scotland and Wales combined. In fact, the bulk of chargers that are set to be installed will be located in Southern England, a total of 6,713 compared to just 2,604 in the other areas. 

This would continue a trend where councils in Southern England roll-out more EV chargers than others across the UK, with the past three years seeing Southern councils install 1,203 more chargers than their northern counterparts. That trend is only set to increase. 

Of course, all these figures could change as councils decide to spend more on EV charging infrastructure, but that’s where Centrica identified an even more worrying trend. Of the over 400 councils it contacted, 126 councils admitted to having no concrete plans to install more EV chargers than they have already earmarked between now and the end of 2025. 

“The latest figures released today demonstrate the need for all UK councils to play their part in helping to achieve the 2030 ban. Whilst it’s great news that the government is providing initiatives to make the transition more affordable, cost isn’t the only barrier,” commented Amanda Stretton, sustainable transport editor at Centrica.

“With half of drivers attributing lack of chargers as the main reason preventing them from purchasing an EV, it’s unfair that those without a driveway risk getting left behind”

Which councils are planning the most EV chargers?

The councils planning to install the most chargers, according to Centrica, are as follows:

  • Westminster: 500.2
  • Kent: 240.3
  • Stirling: 156.0
  • Plymouth: 122.1
  • Haringey: 111.7
  • York: 97.8
  • Gwynedd: 80.3
  • Richmond upon Thames: 70.7
  • Hackney: 65.8
  • Brent: 64.0

Will the lack of council-installed chargers hurt the EV market?

While the lack of on-street chargers provided by local councils will be of concern to those who don’t own driveways, there are thankfully a myriad of options for charging. 

According to Zap-Map, there are more than 13,461 locations in the UK for charging an electric vehicle, with a total of 21,239 individual chargers. That’s more than the estimated 8,385 petrol stations that are currently operating in the UK. 

Unfortunately, these chargers tend to be more expensive than those who can charge at home, but they offer one benefit – the ability to charge at much faster speeds. There are thousands of rapid chargers which can charge an EV in under 30 minutes, while the bulk of chargers available offer fast charging.

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