St Helens stalling on electric car infrastructure

St Helens has been singled out for being among more than 100 local authorities which still have 10 or fewer charge points per 100,000 residents.
St Helens has been singled out for being among more than 100 local authorities which still have 10 or fewer charge points per 100,000 residents.

St Helens is stalling on introducing electric car charging points, according to a new government league table exposing gaps in the UK's electric infrastructure.


The area has been singled out for being among more than 100 local authorities which still have 10 or fewer charge points per 100,000 residents.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps has called on councils to do more to make electric cars the "new normal".

The Department for Transport estimates there were just 15 public charging devices in St Helens at the beginning of October.

That's a rate of eight devices per 100,000 people, significantly lower than the UK average.

The area counts three rapid charge points among its electric infrastructure, which can crank most electric car batteries up to 100% in under half an hour.

These are much faster than regular devices, which can take up to eight hours to charge a car.

Local authorities in the UK have access to a £5 million fund to help build up their electric infrastructure.

Mr Shapps said: "Your postcode should play no part in how easy it is to use an electric car, and I’m determined electric vehicles become the new normal for drivers.

“It’s good news there are now more charging locations than petrol stations, but the clear gaps in provision are disappointing.

"I urge local councils to take advantage of all the government support on offer to help ensure drivers in their area don’t miss out."

The DfT used information from the platform Zap-Map, which says it has details of around 95% of publicly accessible charge points.

Across the UK, there are more than 15,000 charge points, including 2,500 rapid devices.That gives an average rate of 23 per 100,000 people.

However, RAC director Steve Gooding said simply "totting up" the number of charge points reveals nothing about whether councils are choosing the best locations for motorists.

He said: “The fact that central government is making funds available to councils to install charge points is welcome, but without accompanying advice on where best to locate them it shouldn’t surprise us that many authorities are stalling on how best to proceed.

“Ideally, we’d have a sustained grant programme married to a national strategy, including guidance for locating on-street chargers and a plan for creating a network of rapid chargers for people on the move.”

The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England, said it was determined to tackle the air pollution "public health emergency", but that electric charging points were only part of the solution.

It added: "The availability of electric power points in public places will be driven by local markets and suitability for charging points as well as different needs for power supply infrastructure."