With the news last month that none of our 11 councils have applied for the On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) grant yet, we sent them all an email on the 31st January asking:

  1. Do you intend to apply for funds available from the above scheme this year? If not – why not?
  2. How many new EV charging points will the council have installed by the end of 2021?

Group Effort

Since then we have learnt that most councils attended a meeting earlier this week (23/02/21) hosted by Sustainable NI to discuss policy around the installation of EV Chargers. We believe there is an appetite from all the councils here to work together on this matter.

And we can see the advantages too, as long as negotiating an agreement from the 11 different groups does not paralyse progress. In any case we would like to see DfI leading a working group here to help our local authorities and accelerate progress.

A meeting of all councils is planned for 10th March and we look forward to an update after that. In the meantime, here are the responses we received from your councils.


Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

We received the following statement from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

The Council is committed to exploring the potential for low carbon solutions and as part if these efforts is discussing with partners how current EV Charging Points can be improved across our Borough and indeed additional points added to meet the growing demand from electric car users.

To achieve this the Council is engaging with a range of partners including DfI, ESB and the other 10 Councils. The funding which you are referring to has a number of challenges for local Councils including the fact that we do not have responsibility for streets and roads, however, we are aware that the Department for Infrastructure is keen to work with Councils where funding bids are being proposed.

There is also a need for initial research and mapping to be undertaken to establish where the optimum locations would be for additional points both on street and off street and how the Councils will engage with the private sector to ensure ongoing upkeep of the points once installed. You may also be aware that as part of the creation of the new Councils in 2015, local government took responsibility for off street car parks which are generally well located in town centres and may provide a further opportunity for such provision. The Council has established a Climate Change Working Group which will be advancing this work over the forthcoming months and we would be happy to update you on our progress.


Ards and North Down Borough Council

We have had good engagement from Ards and North down. The latest reply in our email exchange is below. So far they have declined our offer of a Zoom meeting though, which we would still value.

We have approximately 66 car parks across the borough but under the funding from OZEV we can only put the chargers in ones where they are in residential areas with an identified need for charging. Currently we have identified 5 car parks where we might meet the criteria and are actively investigation how we can avail of the funding and instal units in these car parks.

As I previously stated through the car parking strategy we have identified a number of car parks where we would like to install rapid chargers to meet the needs of those travelling around the borough.

We would consider that DFI are in a better place to install on street chargers and that they should lead on that. I am not aware of any discussions between OZEV and DfI.


Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council

After a phone call from ABC we received this reply. We hope to hold a Zoom meeting with them in the next few weeks.

In relation to local electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the Borough please note this is something Council is keen to develop further with a preference for a strategic approach to delivery.

The aims in developing and implementing this strategic approach will require working in collaboration and partnership with a number of public and private partners to ensure the infrastructure is stable and sustainable. As a key focus group for electric vehicle charging we would welcome the opportunity to formally engage with you if you would like to forward your availability.


Belfast City Council

We have had good engagement from Belfast City Council. The latest reply in our email exchange is below. We will keep in contact regarding ORCS and the VPACH 2 project which they are part of.

We are currently examining the opportunity of ORCS along with several other Council’s. As you will be aware Belfast City Council are also involved in the VPACH 2 on street EV charging project and the EU FASTER project.


Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

No Response – Tweet them and ask why?

As with the other councils we sent an email on 31st January and followed up with a reminder message on 18th February. However, no reply was received.


Derry City and Strabane District Council

We have had a good exchange with Derry City and Strabane Council, both on the phone and via this follow-up statement.

Derry City and Strabane District Council have had discussions with DfI in relation to the feasibility of installing on-street chargers. DfI have informed Council that planning permission would have to be sought for such locations, and that DFI would work with Councils if planning permission was approved.

Council believe that a separate piece of work is needed to establish the demand for charging points and the projected uptake of EV’s in the Council area. Council have some concerns in relation to the potential for restricting on-street parking access for other vehicle users when siting charging points, and this issue will require further discussion with DfI.

The On-street Charge Point scheme allows for chargers to be located in public car parks close to residential areas, but there is no guidance on the definition of close. William Street car park is an example of a council owned car park close to a residential area, although complications arise as this is a pay & display car park and DfI will need to be consulted regarding parking payment issues.

Council believe that there are issues in relation to a payment mechanism for the user of on-street charge points and will have to engage with a third party charge point operator to operate and maintain the charge points. NIEVO has offered to assist Council with identifying suitable consultants and charge point operators who could help answer some of these questions and whilst this offer is welcomed, Council must remain impartial and will conduct their own analysis of suitable charge point operators.

Officers from Derry City and Strabane District Council, Ards & North Down Borough Council, Newry Mourne & Down District Council and Belfast City Council councils have agreed to discuss the feasibility of preparing a joint bid for the ORCS funding and NIEVO would welcome the opportunity to hold a Zoom meeting with the above group.

Separately, Derry City and Strabane District Council is involved in the FASTER Project, an Interreg funded project to install 73 fast chargers in Scotland and the border counties between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic by 2023.


Fermanagh and Omagh District Council

We received the following statement from Fermanagh and Omagh Council.

1. Do you intend to apply for funds available from the above scheme this year? If not – why not?. 

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) engaged with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) regarding the On-Street Residential ChargePoint Scheme (ORCS) funding available within the 2020-21 financial year, however did not apply due to several barriers the funding presented.  Barriers included: 

The scheme is primarily focused on the installation of charge points in on-street locations, as you are aware local Councils have no jurisdiction over roads and footpaths, (unlike our counterparts in GB), these fall under the remit of the Department for Infrastructure (DfI). 

The scheme permits the installation of EV charging points in car parks, however FODC would have difficulty meeting the criteria.  Car parks are required to be accessible 24/7, at a minimum allowing local residents to access the car parks for free overnight, this presents issues in terms of insurances and liability.  Each charge point must have its own dedicated EV bay enforced by a traffic regulation order; providing a dedicated EV bay is not an issue but this specific enforcement is carried out under off-street car park contravention 71 and only in our town centre pay and display car parks, this would have rural proofing implications. 

Resource – There are both financial and staff resource implications, the ORCS funding provides capital funding, but with increasing budgetary pressures, revenue funding would also need to be secured.  The EST provide a local government support programme to authorities in England offering free, impartial, and flexible support on developing an electric vehicle chargepoint strategy there is currently no equivalent support for councils in Northern Ireland. 

2. How many new EV charging points will the council have installed by the end of 2021? 

There is no specific target in terms of the number of new EV charging points FODC will have installed by the end of 2021. 

Notwithstanding the above, FODC welcomes a strategic approach to the development of the EV charging network; in partnership with local Councils, the DfI and the private sector.  Clear and specific policy direction for Electric Vehicles at a regional level would also inform what Councils could achieve at a local level. 

FODC will look at any suitable EV charging funding opportunities in 2021/22 on a collaborative basis with other local Councils, with preference for central coordination and procurement. 


Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council

We have had good engagement from Lisburn Castlereagh including exchanges with both the Chief Executive and Director of Service Transformation. We held a Zoom earlier this week and plan to meet again later this year.

The council is already in discussion with colleagues in other councils with a view to bringing forward a coordinated bid for funding for the Residential EV Charging Scheme currently available through the Energy Saving Trust.

We are also exploring what can be done through our planned strategic regeneration projects and ongoing repairs and renewals programme for off street car parking. This work is focused on a number of city centre site options and rural opportunities in support of a more sustainable approach to integrated transport solutions. We continue to liaise with Sustainable NI and the Department for Infrastructure in this regard.

Our approach is to seek to minimise any ratepayer burden by exploring options with the private sector on a “no revenue tail” basis. A report on EV charging will be presented to the March meeting of the Council’s Development Committee.


Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

No Response – Tweet them and ask why?

As with the other councils we sent an email on 31st January and followed up with a reminder message on 18th February. However, no reply was received.


Mid Ulster District Council – Dungannon

No Response – Tweet them and ask why?

As with the other councils we sent an email on 31st January and followed up with a reminder message on 18th February. However, no reply was received.


Newry, Mourne and Down District Council

No Response – Tweet them and ask why?

As with the other councils we sent an email on 31st January and followed up with a reminder message on 18th February. However, no reply was received.


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