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South Somerset District Council paves the way for a new charging network for electric vehicles

| District

Across the planet it is recognised we must change the way we fuel our transportation to reduce our emissions, ensure energy security, support better air quality and reduce noise pollution. 

South Somerset District Council recognises it has a part to play in enabling residents, businesses and visitors to convert to zero emission vehicles, help reduce transport related carbon emissions and promote more sustainable forms of transport.

In March this year, SSDC went live with their first three rapid, direct current (DC) Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points which were installed in car parks at three key locations across the district. Each were installed just five minutes’ drive from the A303 in Wincanton, Ilchester and Ilminster and were funded with a £90,000 grant from Public Highways England.

Now, SSDC wants to expand the network further….

The next phase

SSDC plans to extend the EV charging network to meet the increasing demands, linking in with private enterprises, parish and town councils, neighbouring District Councils and Somerset County Council.

SSDC Officer and Ivelchester Ward members at Ilchester EV charging point

Above: Ilchester EV charging point at Limington Lane Car Park, one of the three initial charging stations already live. Pictured from left to right Cara Naden Environment Case officer for South Somerset District Council, Cllr Sarah Dyke District Councillor for Milborne Port and SSDC Environment Portfolio Holder, Cllr Charlie Hull, Cllr Tony Capozzoli and Cllr Paul Rowsell District Councillors for Northstone, Ivelchester & St Michael's Wards

The initial plan is to have charging points at around 17 SSDC car park locations with two 22kW connectors at each, aiming to be completed by December 2021.  SSDC will partner with DELETTI – (Devon Low-carbon Energy & Transport Technology Innovator), a partnership project of Devon County Council and most of the Devon District Councils.

Future phases could expand this network still further in a range of locations based on feedback from our communities, usage data from the initial sites and viability of grid connection at other locations.

Cllr Sarah Dyke, the council’s portfolio holder for Environment, said: “As a council we have committed to become carbon neutral by 2030. In order to meet this ambitious environmental goal, we must help people transition to low carbon, zero emission, clean transport options. By installing EV charging infrastructure, we will be able to give our residents, businesses and visitors access to EV charging points throughout the district, giving more people the confidence to embrace this technology, helping to reduce carbon emissions from transport in the district.

“Currently emissions from transport has the highest impact on our district’s carbon footprint and air quality. We’re delighted our first three chargers have gone live, but it’s only the beginning and this next phase aims to catalyse the transition to EVs and help break the chicken-and-egg cycle of drivers being reluctant to buy Electric Vehicles.

“Alongside this we will promote awareness and encourage more SSDC residents, businesses and visitors to use EVs to make our district a cleaner, healthier and more environmentally friendly place to live.”

SSDC Officer and Cllr at EV charging point in Ilchester

Above: Cara Naden, Environment Case officer at SSDC, demonstrates how the EV Chargers work to Cllr Sarah Dyke District Councillor for Milborne Port and SSDC Environment Portfolio Holder

In 2019 South Somerset District Council recognised a climate emergency and launched its own Environment Strategy to work towards its commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030.

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