A business case will be produced to unlock £3.7m from the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund which will be used fill in the gaps in Somerset’s rapidly expanding EV charging network.
Data from Gov.uk indicates that there are now nearly 300 public accessible EV charging points within Somerset, which represents a 30% increase since the summer of 2022.
Of these, 117 have been provided by the five previous councils in Somerset and the LEVI funding could add another 200 or more.
Somerset Council’s role is to work with the charge point industry to improve the rollout of local charging infrastructure to ensure that there is good distribution and access for the 27% of Somerset homes that do not have off-street parking.
As part of the LEVI process, potential on street charging locations will be mapped, and as all locations are different, and there are a variety of charging solutions, the aim is to make sure the right charge points are available in the right locations.
The network will include car parks and on-street locations, as well as addressing the charging needs of our more rural communities, and tourist destinations.
Planning for this network is underway, and if approved the first charge points being funded in this way could start being installed from summer 2024.
The LEVI bid was discussed by Somerset Council’s Climate and Place Scrutiny Committee.
Councillor Sarah Dyke, Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change, said:
Helping expand the EV charging network is one of the tangible steps we can take as a council to accelerate the switch to electric vehicles. We’re a large, rural county and that makes it a challenge, but we want to help our residents make the change.
Councillor Mike Rigby, Lead Member, Transport and Digital, said:
We’re making good progress, but we are ambitious and want to do more. The market can provide much of the solution, but there’s an important role for us to play to make sure provision is fair and we have a network that helps Somerset become greener and more sustainable.