On the 8th of February 2020 we wrote to the Department for Infrastructure asking for the 2nd space to be painted green at this on-street charger in Hillsborough, after receiving a request from a member in the area.

8 months later we met with the then DfI Minister Nichola Mallon, when she agreed to help with this site and all DfI controlled public charging locations. After all, the simple act of painting a 2nd space green at each of these chargers would effectively double the limited infrastructure Northern Ireland had. The photo above shows how the site looks currently, as today we reach the third anniversary of our request.

The message in this image of the then Minister signing up to the Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans in November 2021 at COP 26 is somewhat ironic.

But There’s No Executive

We often hear that nothing can happen because Stormont is not sitting. But there was little to report while it was present.

We sit on the EV Task Force and DfI has published the first action plan. We hope that the civil servants that work hard alongside us in the group are given the resources to push these actions forward.

The Westminster government has pulled big levers, like the 2030 and 2035 vehicle bans. Other devolved governments have got to work with their preparations, with Scotland spending tens of millions on their infrastructure rollout. Here, not so much.

Things could be different if Stormont returns this time though, as Northern Ireland has a Climate Change Act now, so there will be targets the Executive must meet on decarbonisation. But even this is dependent on which areas of transportation any Minister, or senior official, deems most worthy of attention.

Over Three Years

After our initial request in this county down village we subsequently asked for this work to be carried out at all DfI controlled on-street chargers. But Hillsborough remains the first, and so we asked the department for an update on this site and they told us…

We are currently arranging for the work to be done. This type of work takes a while and is very much weather dependant. But is on a list of works for this financial year.

If it does happen before April it will be well over three years to paint a single space green.

To cap off this story, the charger here has been out of action for months. It’s waiting to be replaced as part of ESB’s long overdue and part-publicly funded project.

While the private sector is forging ahead, doubling rapid chargers here in the last few months, the public sector seems incapable of actioning even the most basic requests in anything like a timely manner.

[UPDATE August 2023 – 3.5 years later this space has finally been completed]


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