Car charging Stromness2No new petrol and diesel cars will be sold from 2030 – just seven years from now. While EV charging infrastructure is being built fast in some cities and built-up areas, in districts like ours the journey has only just begun. In Leek, for example there are just two public chargers and one of those is often not working.

But at last there are signs of action. In late January, SMDC unveiled its plan for EV chargers in public car parks - in Biddulph, Cheadle, Leek and, perhaps some villages.

The plan seemed to MCA members and councillors a model of decisive and confident action – most took comfort from the fact the portfolio holder was himself an EV user and had a grasp of his subject.

Councillors opted for SMDC’s preferred option – under which the council retains control of the infrastructure, a model which allows it to keep more revenue and control (and risk) than ceding complete control to the chosen contractor.

The SMDC EV strategy will run alongside the future EV charging network recently announced by Staffordshire County Council. Let’s hope it progresses as well as the one rolled out by Lancashire County Council.

Neither the SMDC nor county strategies solve the issue of on-street charging for the many residents who do not have the benefits of drives. That must wait for new strategies and funding from central government.

In the meantime, for those of us who want to make an impact ourselves, there are opportunities out there – in the form of Government grants for small initiatives and organisations such as Charge My Street who help communities set up their own community charge points.