Earlier this month we contacted OZEV (formerly OLEV) to enquire about the On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS). This grant is administered by the Energy Saving Trust and is available to all local authorities across the UK to fund 75% of the capital costs of installing public chargepoints for residents without access to private parking. It has been running since the 2017-18 Financial Year and there’s £20 million available for the 2020-21 period.
Northern Ireland Councils
We all know that NI is bottom of every league table for chargers so we asked OZEV for details of which of Northern Ireland’s councils have applied for funding so far and they told us…
We are yet to receive any applications to ORCS from Northern Irish local authorities, however we have been in contact with all 11, including running a webinar about the Scheme, aimed specifically at NI authorities. This can be viewed hereOZEV
So then, despite a special webinar held on 9th September 2020 trying hard to engage the 11 NI Councils, still not a single one of them has applied for any of the £20M.
We’ve watched the recording and it walks through the requirements and highlights where chargers can be installed – including in car parks that are near residential areas. There are sensible criteria for eligibility, including 24/7 access.
A quick look at the EST map shows successful applications for the funding from local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales – and a big blank for NI.
This is just the latest miserable revelation in our on-going investigation into the lack of investment in NI’s public charging network. The MRP issue was solved almost a year ago now and it is unfathomable to us that still no local authority here has applied for part of this £20M fund.
In February 2020, DfI Minister Nichola Mallon replied to an Assembly question stating…
My officials liaise regularly with councils and have recently met with a number of councils, including Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, to provide advice and guidance on a range of e-car related matters including charge point infrastructure. My officials will continue to provide advice and guidance to councils as requested as I am keen to see the electric car infrastructure network improved.Nichola Mallon
So far there’s evidence of plenty of good EV thoughts from the hill, but not many good deeds.
[UPDATE – Here are the replies from the councils]
[UPDATE – Here’s our piece on BBC Radio Foyle on this topic from 5th February ]
Today we have written to our 11 councils to try and understand why they haven’t applied. We have also asked them for their EV charging plans for this year and offered our help too.
Please tweet (with #NIEVO) and email your own council using our handy links below…