Officers praised for securing £1,348,370 for EV consortium

Members of Derry City and Strabane Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee congratulated council officers for leading the north's Electric Vehicle consortium to secure £1,348,370 for 124 (22 kW) charge points for nine out of the 11 councils.

Derry City and Strabane District Council submitted an application on behalf of nine of the 11 councils for the On Street Residential Charge Point Scheme which is managed by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV).
Derry City and Strabane District Council submitted an application on behalf of nine of the 11 councils for the On Street Residential Charge Point Scheme which is managed by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV).

However, Sinn Féin councillor Christopher Jackson called for council to ‘lead by example’ and do more and to ‘look to the future for any projects we are involved in’.

They also endorsed the commencement of a procurement exercise to appoint an Electric Vehicle Charge Point operator to install, manage and maintain the charge points following the receipt of funding.

Derry City and Strabane District Council submitted an application on behalf of nine of the 11 councils for the On Street Residential Charge Point Scheme which is managed by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV). Belfast City Council and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council decided not to apply for the scheme although they remain part of the consortium.

A Letter of Offer was received from OZEV in July for £1,348,370. The application required 25% match funding, which the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) offered to the consortium.

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Officers are currently in the process of finalising the locations of the charge points and will consider geographical spread across the district and each of the nine councils have between 12 and 15 charge points in total.

Welcoming the report SDLP councillor Martin Reilly said: “If we are serious about taking action on climate change then we need to make it easy for people to make the switch away from carbon consuming vehicles towards electric vehicles.”

Agreeing with the previous speaker, DUP Alderman Maurice Devenney described it as ‘a very positive news story’.

He added: ‘Is this enough? I would say no it doesn’t scratch the surface but it is a beginning and anything that increases that charging network to encourage more people to change over to electric has to be welcomed.”

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Giving his party’s endorsement, Sinn Féin councillor Christopher Jackson welcomed the success in the funding application saying: “The fact that our council have taken a stand and taken the lead across the nine councils shows we are taking a leading role in protecting our environment, giving options to commuters in terms of greener and cleaner transport.

“I think it’s only right our actions should reflect that and I note with frustration that our council has hired an electric vehicle for the transportation of the Mayor but outside this building there isn’t an electric charging point.

“I know council were involved in developing a car park at St Columb's Park but to my knowledge there was no provision of an electric charging point.

“Given council’s lead role in respect of this consortium you would like to think we would be looking to the future in any projects we are involved in, any services we are providing and any upgrades that council are currently doing to their own facility and I am referring specifically to the Guildhall.”

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Councillor Jackson asked for a report to be brought back detailing ‘where we are at with electric charging points around council facilities, the Mayor’s vehicle in particular’.

Rachael Ferguson suggested that Derry City and Strabane District Council ‘don’t blow our own trumpets enough about how we are the first of many councils to lead the way when it comes to climate change’ before stating how disappointing it was that Causeway Coast and Glens and Belfast City Council aren’t involved.

The unanimous approval by members means officers can get a competitive tender exercise underway to procure the Charge Point Operator (CPO) as soon as possible to enable the consortium to complete the works within the stated funding period which ends in June 2023.