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Calls for more electric vehicle charging points in Mid Suffolk after

Calls are being made for more to be done to provide electric vehicle charging points in Mid Suffolk as latest figures reveal just nine across the whole district.

Department for Transport figures up to April 2020 showed there were 164 publicly available charging points for electric vehicles in the county – the lowest of any county in the East of England.

The most were in Ipswich with 48, followed by 47 in East Suffolk and 44 in West Suffolk.

An electric car charge point in Kent	Picture by Andy Jones.
An electric car charge point in Kent Picture by Andy Jones.

Babergh had 16 while Mid Suffolk had just nine.

Andrew Stringer, Green councillor for Mid Suffolk and Suffolk County councils, said more needed to be done.

“Despite being a rural county, necessitating higher mileage for many journeys, the data shows that 88 per cent of councils are doing better than Mid Suffolk,” he said.

“With only nine public charging points in the district and none on the trunk roads, residents are discouraged from taking the crucial step away from fossil fuel.

“Mid Suffolk really should be doing better, we even have a manufacturer of chargers in Stowmarket, we should be leading the way not lagging behind.”

Electric charging points are increasingly being raised at planning committee meetings for when developers design new homes. However, they are largely for private and not public use.

But Jessica Fleming, Conservative cabinet member for the environment at Mid Suffolk, said the issue was being looked at: “Improving our electric vehicle charging infrastructure to meet need is one of many areas being explored by our joint cross-party environment and climate change taskforce – with proposals due to go to cabinet next month outlining how we will contribute to Suffolk’s county-wide ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“De-carbonising transport is emerging as a high priority and we intend to work with our partner authorities to ensure that Mid Suffolk plays its part.

“In the meantime, we continue to identify opportunities for installing new, preferably rapid, public charging points and are pleased to be supporting Plug-and-Go with a new fast double EV point in Eye, and are promoting EV charging capability in new housing developments.

“We must, however, ensure that infrastructure is built in line with demand and also promote alternative transport wherever possible, such as walking, cycling or public transport.”

“We are closely following the developing advancements in this technology."

Of the 164 across the county, 29 were rapid charging points – only one of which was in Mid Suffolk – and can charge a car’s battery much faster than regular points, in some cases in as little as 30 minutes.

Suffolk County Council pointed to the DfT’s data and said that per 100,000 people, Suffolk actually performed better than the rest of the counties in the East of England.

Environment cabinet member at the county council, Richard Rout, Conservative, added: “As part of Suffolk County Council’s commitment to addressing the climate emergency we are looking at the availability and roll out of more electric vehicle charging points where appropriate.

“Our initiative ‘Plug in Suffolk’ is supporting local businesses and communities to increase the number of publicly accessible charging locations.

“We are closely following the developing advancements in this technology including rapid charging points and the car buying habits of residents to ensure we can make the most from the installation of charging points as more and more people consider electric vehicle.”

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