Herts Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst has warned of a chasm between cities/towns and rural areas in the
availability of electric vehicle charging points, as new figures show that drivers in county areas have one charging point every 16 miles,
compared to one for every mile in London.
New analysis from the County Councils Network (CCN) shows that there are more publicly available charging points in London - 7,865 - compared to the entirety of England's counties, which are home to almost half of the country's population.
With 7,781 public charging points in total in the 36 county areas the CCN represents, this means the average distance between chargers is 16 miles in those places. They are lagging well behind London, which has a charger for every mile on average, and England's largest eight cities, which have a six-mile distance between chargers.
"It is clear that this makes it more difficult to drive an electric vehicle in England's counties compared to cities and towns, which could
put people off switching from petrol and diesel. Just 35% of electric vehicles are registered in county areas, despite them being home to half of the country's population. Emissions have decreased slower in England'scounties since 2005, compared to every other part of the country", said Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst.
"What makes it worse is that the Herts County Tories are vetoing on-road charging points except in exceptional circumstances. Their policy says they will only be agreed as an "exception" and they have already rejected installing lamp-post chargers in Watford. This affects both towns and villages and the suggestion that they may just be installed at car parks and supermarkets is not sustainable. Many villages have no-off road car parks expect perhaps if they have a public house and in towns you might have to walk ten minutes to a car park. The failure of the county council to provide the investment, or to allow the district councils to do so, will undermine the government's net-zero by 2050 target. They also say having good access to charging points is vital especially for visitors." said Cllr Giles-Medhurst.
Only 21,925 chargers have been installed in England as of last month. This is a long way off the government's target of 150,000 a year and 1.5 million charging points by 2030.
The Liberal Democrats have pointed out that unlike Tory-run Surrey County Council which is set to install 80 residential on-street fast charging points across four towns, Herts has no such plans.
"Failure of the county council to provide this infrastructure will undermine the government's net-zero by 2050 target. Emissions have decreased slower in England's counties since 2005, compared to every other part of the country, " said Cllr Giles-Medhurst.