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Residents highlight ‘urgent’ need for more electric vehicle charging points

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Tony Martin charging his electric car at Frome Town Hall.

A FROME resident has criticised Mendip District Council for having no electric vehicle charging points in its car parks.

Tony Martin, who owns his own electric car, says that the district council is ‘letting down’ Frome and the district, and should be doing more to encourage and support residents to reduce their carbon emissions.

Frome Town Council, who have helped to install several public charging points across the town, has agreed with Tony, stating that Frome ‘urgently’ needs more charging points as people are struggling to access points locally.

The need for more charging points in the town has become all the more ‘urgent’ following the news last week that the UK government has brought forward a ban on selling new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars in the UK from 2040 to 2035 at the latest, which will increase the reliance on electric vehicles.

However, there could be good news on the horizon following last week’s Mendip District Council cabinet meeting, where it was agreed to explore the installation of a high speed electric vehicle charging point infrastructure across the district. 

Speaking to Frome Times, Tony said, “I moved to Frome a couple of years ago and I love it. The open, creative and politically forward-thinking attitude of almost every resident I meet continues to reassure me I’ve moved to the right place. I have slightly less warm feelings about Mendip council. Like all of us, I’m trying to do my bit for the environment, including recently adopting an electric vehicle (EV) for shorter trips and using the fantastic Co-wheels hybrid cars for longer trips. 

“Frome council has installed a couple of charging points and I’m grateful for that, but most of the car parks in Frome are run by Mendip. Provision of charging points in Frome is limited but in the Mendip area overall, it is really poor. I know for a fact that other regional governments are being courted by commercial companies keen to install charging points in car parks. I can’t believe Mendip hasn’t also been approached. If they have had an approach, what’s stopping them from moving forward?

“We need to start making the move towards carbon reductions by supporting EVs and installing more charging points in Mendip-controlled car parks. To keep costs down they could start by making parking for EVs free of charge. This would support and promote the use of EVs throughout the area. Once that happens, commercial providers of EV charging points would certainly support and fund the installation of those points. 

“I know that parking is a cash cow for Mendip, but the number of EVs on the road right now will make little or no difference to that income. But free parking for EVs does, however, send a message that Mendip know which way the wind is blowing and is willing to play a more active part in supporting tax payers’ efforts to reduce their carbon dependency. 

“Frome has already made a start, but it could do so much more with some support from those responsible for these decisions in Mendip. Right now, they’re letting us all down.”

Resilience manager for Frome Town Council,  Anna Francis added, “Frome urgently needs more charge points for electric vehicles. I get emails every week from people wanting to charge their cars but have difficulty accessing charge points locally. If Mendip can provide fast charge points in the Market Yard car park for example, this would make a massive difference. Sharing domestic charge points through Bookmycharge will also help to increase access in residential areas. This is vital to help reduce air pollution and emissions.”

Mendip District Councillor, Drew Gardner, who has campaigned for more charging points across the district said, “My vision is to have a rapid charger in every main town in Mendip, including Frome. We now need to undertake a procurement and talk to suppliers – we need to do this work before we can confirm the number of charging points and where they will go.

“It’s really important that local government gets involved with providing citizens the route out of fossil fuel cars. There’s also a commercial element to this – if you put charge points in towns, people with electric cars will come and charge their cars whilst they do their shopping. I want people to visit our town, do lots of shopping and charge their car whilst they are doing it.”

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