Harrogate revealed as one of worst prepared areas in UK for electric car revolution

Harrogate has been revealed as one of the worst prepared areas in the UK for the electric car revolution.
Harrogate has seen a rapid rise in electric vehicles, but the availability of public charging points has lagged behind.Harrogate has seen a rapid rise in electric vehicles, but the availability of public charging points has lagged behind.
Harrogate has seen a rapid rise in electric vehicles, but the availability of public charging points has lagged behind.

New research shows the district places fourth among the least ready regions, with just one charging point for every 134 electric or hybrid cars.

This comes as more and more motorists across the nation are making the switch to electric as the government's ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 is now less than a decade away.

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Harrogate has seen rapid growth in the number of electric vehicles on its roads, with more than York or any other district in North Yorkshire.

However, the district's charging infrastructure is lagging behind and there is now pressure on local authorities to speed up their offering in order to support efforts to tackle climate change.

Harrogate Borough Council - which has admitted the district's charging point numbers are "some way behind" neighbouring areas such as York and Leeds - has set an aim to get 10,000 electric vehicles on the roads by 2023.

It said in a statement that it has installed charging points at several council-owned locations and that it plans to roll out 60 more within the next five years.

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The borough council said: "It is encouraging to see that the Harrogate district has seen an increase in electric vehicle ownership.

“Our Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle strategy aims to respond to this local need and fulfil our vision to have the most ambitious and forward-thinking programme for electric vehicles of any borough council.

“Charging points have been installed at council sites across the district, including Phoenix Business Park in Ripon and Conyngham Hall in Knaresborough.

“Charging points will also be installed at Hornbeam Park train station car park in Harrogate, Victoria multi-storey car park in Harrogate, Chapel Street car park in Knaresborough, Southlands car park in Pateley Bridge and cathedral car park in Ripon in the coming months."

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Harrogate Borough Council is responsible for areas including off-street parking and planning, and said all new housing developments are equipped with charging points along with a dedicated electric circuit.

On-street parking is the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council which said it recognised the urgency of the electric car revolution, but added it wanted "take the time needed to ensure we find the correct solutions to ensure everyone has convenient access".

It said a charging point study is currently underway and will involve a public consultation to ask residents for their views.

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Karl Battersby, corporate director for business and environmental services at the county council, said: "North Yorkshire is currently exploring many options and engaging with specialist companies to seek solutions to the challenges surrounding electric vehicle charging.

"Options being considered include rapid charging hubs and innovative measures to provide on-street charging."

Mr Battersby added: "Harrogate has more registered electric vehicles than any other district in the county and also the most publicly available charge points, though some of those have restricted availability.

"Department for Transport data shows Harrogate and Ryedale are in the top 40% of UK council areas for total numbers of charging points."

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The research which shows Harrogate places fourth among the least ready regions is from insurance group esure. It found the district comes behind only Slough, Swindon and Stockport which is the worst prepared place with 448 electric and hybrid vehicles having to share each charger.

The figures also show it's 3.5 times harder to find a charger in Harrogate than in York which has made better progress with one charging point for every 38 vehicles.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London comes out on top as the best prepared area with only 4 cars per each charger.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter