New 'league table' reveals electric car charging availability in Luton and Central Bedfordshire

A new 'league table' has revealed the availability of electric car charging points in Luton and Central Bedfordshire as the Transport Secretary calls on local authorities to do more.

Earlier this month, the Transport Secretary wrote to local authorities, urging them to take advantage of funding on offer to build up their electric car charging infrastructure, and to increase local access to chargepoints for drivers.

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This comes as the Department for Transport published a ‘league table’ of data illustrating the public electric car charging infrastructure available across the UK and highlighting gaps in provision.

In Luton, it revealed that there are 53 public charging devices and 2 public rapid charging devices, there are 25 charging devices per 100,000 people.

A spokesman for Luton Council said: "Luton Council, whilst pleased that it is in the top 20 per cent of authorities for the provision of electric charging points, is by no means complacent.

"In the light of the current concerns around the climate, the council is taking positive steps towards becoming carbon neutral and has commissioned a working party which will report back in the early part of 2020 with possible appropriate courses of action that can be implemented locally.

"We want to be able to meet local demand for charging points so as many local residents and businesses as possible can own and run electric vehicles and welcome the offer of funding to build up our charging point infrastructure even further.

"In addition to having our first electric Hackney carriage in the town we are currently placing an additional four rapid charging bays in Luton."

The 'league table' revealed that in Central Bedfordshire there are 38 public charging devices and 9 public rapid charging devices, there are 13 charging devices per 100,000 people.

A spokesman for Central Bedfordshire Council said: “We have been supporting electric vehicle owners since 2012 with our network of electric car charging facilities across Central Bedfordshire.

"A number of our offices and recent housing developments have been provided with both standard and rapid charging facilities.

"We have also been promoting our workplace and homecharge funding schemes, which provides grant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle charge points, to residents and businesses."

The Government wants driving an electric vehicle to be convenient for people from all corners of the country, and that local authorities have a key role to play.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Your postcode should play no part in how easy it is to use an electric car, and I’m determined electric vehicles become the new normal for drivers.

"It’s good news there are now more charging locations than petrol stations, but the clear gaps in provision are disappointing.

"I urge local councils across the South East to take advantage of all the Government support on offer to help ensure drivers in their area don’t miss out.

"To help increase the provision of charging locations, the Government is offering grants for the installation of chargepoints on the street, in work and at home.

"We are also offering grants to lower the upfront cost of these cars so everyone is able to experience the benefits.”