Dickson Urges Action to Strengthen NI’s EV Charging Network
East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has been leading the charge for better Electric Vehicle (EV) provisions in Northern Ireland (NI), warning that anything less than an immediate focus from the Department of Infrastructure could lead to dire consequences on the horizon.
NI has long been lagging behind other parts of the UK with respect to the number and reliability of EV chargers. The current infrastructure in NI is rudimentary, and sorely behind the curve when it comes to technological advancement. In a recent survey, conducted by the NI EV Owners Group, findings revealed that 58% of EV drivers in NI are considering a return to petrol or diesel vehicles as a direct consequence of the countless issues attached to the public charging network.
Mr Dickson, in reaching out to the Minister for Infrastructure, said: “The decarbonisation of transport is key to our future, and a reliable EV charging network is central to achieving this. As such, I am asking the Minister for Infrastructure how she intends to rapidly expand the network to ensure it is fit for purpose.
“It is quite clear that to put us in the best position going forward, the DfI needs to commit more funding to strengthen our network. Moreover, the department needs to start taking its responsibilities seriously to remove any existing barriers and help councils access grant funding.”
In response to this letter, the Minister said: “I am committed to decarbonising transport as part of my Department’s climate change action. My officials are working closely with the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) on the development of UK-wide transport decarbonisation plans and with the Department for the Economy on the transport elements of the proposed new Energy Strategy to inform how best this can be achieved for NI.”
The Minister went on to detail several ways in which her department is looking at EV provisions including ways of increasing funding and engaging with local councils. However, with the NI EV network teetering on the brink, and with the NI EV Owners Group warning the system is merely months from collapse, will the DfI’s efforts be enough?