MP launches campaign to ‘electrify the countryside’

John Lamont MP at an electric car charging point in Coldstream, now he wants to see more all over the Borders
John Lamont MP at an electric car charging point in Coldstream, now he wants to see more all over the Borders

Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP John Lamont has launched a new campaign to boost investment in electric car charging points, particularly in rural areas.

The UK Government has committed to phasing out the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a shift towards electric cars.

While most charging will be done at home, research suggests the UK will need ten times the current provision of public electric car charging points by 2030.

Official figures from the European Alternative Fuels Observatory also show that while the UK has 133 fast public charging points per 100km of road network, Norway has around 600.

A lack of charging, or even a perceived lack of charging, often kown as “range anxiety” is the biggest barrier to electric car ownership.

The UK and Scottish Governments are taking steps to improve provision of charging points, including an extra £2.5 million from the UK Government for councils to install charging on residential roads.

However Mr Lamont has called for this to be accelerated and for greater funding for rural areas.

He said: “We all know how important it is to reduce transport emissions, but this move away from diesel and petrol cars is only going to be possible if we have the infrastructure to support it.

“People I speak to in the Borders are reluctant to switch because they are concerned about how they will be able to quickly and easily charge their cars on longer journeys.

“This is particularly an issue in rural areas where journeys are longer and the distances between places where you can charge a car will inevitably be longer.

“We are seeing more and more charging points going up, but independent research suggests that we need ten times as many in the next few years, so clearly this effort needs to continue at pace.

“That is why I am launching my new campaign to ‘electrify the countryside’. I’m calling on both the UK and Scottish Governments to boost investment in infrastructure people in rural areas can have the confidence to make the switch to electric cars.

“We should also be looking at ending the unhelpful system we have at the moment where many individual charging points have their own subscription system.

“We need to make it as easy as possible for motorists, and introducing a uniform payment system, as we have for petrol stations, would be a step in the right direction.”