Holbeton Parish Council Climate Change Committee (CCC)

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SHDC – ‘Super-fast’ Electric Vehicle chargers unveiled for public use

Cutting-edge ‘rapid’ Electric Vehicle (EV) charge points have now been commissioned for public use at three council car parks in South Hams and Teignbridge.

From this week EV users can charge their electric vehicles at Ivybridge’s Glanvilles Mill car park, the Chudleigh Library car park and at Buckfastleigh’s Mardle Way car park. The £175,000 project is a partnership of Devon County Council (DCC), South Hams District Council and Teignbridge District Council has been made possible by funding from Highways England.  The ‘rapid’ charge points are among the fastest chargers available - EVs should have an 80 per cent charge within 30 minutes, and will be operated by SWARCO and compatible with all EVs currently on the market.

This scheme is the latest example of Highways England’s Designated Funding programme assisting local authorities to improve air quality across the country, helping DCC and district councils to work together to deliver EV charging points along the A38 in Devon. Currently DCC and the district councils are working to deliver the government-funded Deletti project, the first phase of which aims to deliver at least 25 charging points in public carparks across the county from early next year. And DCC is working with the private sector on the government-funded ‘Street Hubz’ project which aims to deliver at least 100 on-street EV charging points in Exeter from next year.

All three projects are part of local authority efforts to help reduce carbon emissions in Devon. Last year DCC declared a ‘climate emergency’ and formed the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG). The DCERG is a group of 25 influential business groups, public sector bodies and councils - including South Hams District Council, Devon County Council and Teignbridge District Council. They are working together to reduce carbon emissions and create a Devon Carbon Plan – a road map to carbon neutrality.

South Hams District Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Cllr Keith Baldry, said: “It’s really important to us to deliver as many electric vehicle charging points across the District as quickly as we can. The charging points in Ivybridge are a good starting point towards us reducing our carbon footprint. They are perfect for the town but also for travellers on the nearby A38 corridor. We are committed to our Climate Change and Biodiversity Plan and have already started to change over some of our fleet to electric vehicles.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “I recognise the difficulty in encouraging more people to use electric cars until there are more charging points and that’s why we are working closely with our district and government partners to deliver charge points in prime locations such as this.

“While the government has committed to banning the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040, we want more people to start using electric vehicles long before that. Fewer petrol and diesel cars will lead to a reduction in emissions, cleaner air and an improved quality of life for all residents.”

Highways England Project Sponsor Brian Cull said: “We’re pleased to be working with councils across the country to make more provision for drivers making the switch to electric, and over 95% of England’s motorways and major A-roads are now within 20 miles of an electric vehicle charging point.

“The charging points will help drivers of electric vehicles make longer, cleaner journeys and reduce the anxiety of potentially running out of power.

“Elsewhere in the South West, we have already funded charging points along the A303 in Somerset, and this is another example of how we are using designated funding to benefit the environment and communities alongside our roads, as well as the people travelling and working on them.”

Councillor Jackie Hook, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “These two EV charging sites in Teignbridge mark a major milestone in our commitment to move to a more sustainable mode of transport, and we’re grateful to our partners at Devon County Council and Highways England for their contribution to this. Use of electric vehicles will be part of the solution to a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future, alongside increased use of cycling and walking, and better public transport links. We want to promote the use of all these modes of transport through improved facilities and increased safety, to give our residents more ways to reduce their carbon footprint.”

District Council’s Hopes For Improved Home Insulation

As part of its drive to be carbon neutral by 2050, South Hams District Council is recommending committing over £500,000 to improve the energy efficiency of households within the District.

A successful Council bid for The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funds, through the Green Homes Grant Scheme, has secured over £330,000 to help improve older homes’ energy efficiency as part of a plan to save households money and to cut carbon emissions.

The Council is now proposing to commit a further £200,000 specifically targeted at low-income families living in fuel poverty and to underline its commitment to do it all can to tackle the global climate change and biodiversity challenges.

A Green Homes report going to the Executive Committee, on Thursday 22 October, recommends that whilst the majority of the Council’s reserves are kept under review during the uncertainty around the pandemic, it is prudent to release £20k from the Climate Change and Biodiversity Earmark Reserve. This is to support delivery of these schemes and help some of the most vulnerable in our community.

In line with the Council’s emerging Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy, the extra funding, if agreed, will also help to reduce carbon emissions from existing housing, which remain a major source of CO2 emissions in the District.

The Green Homes Grant project will focus on the installation of external wall insulation and air source heat pumps for eligible households.

This scheme would mean properties, which are not on the mains gas supply and rely on alternative, less efficient sources of heating, such as oil and solid fuel, would benefit from these improvements early next year.

Whilst the additional funding, if given the green light, will help secure further reductions in fuel poverty and carbon emissions through a range of different interventions and by levering in additional funds.

South Hams District Council’s Leader, Cllr Judy Pearce, said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to secure crucial funds to improve energy efficiency in homes, and to support some of our most vulnerable households while underlining our commitment to the Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency.

“With recent information forthcoming from Government on local authorities’ funding for the coming year, we are now able to go the extra mile by recommending further funding from our reserves to deliver this vital project and to provide extra officer time in looking at further ways to help carbon reduction.

“This is an important step in reducing the District’s carbon footprint in homes which don't currently benefit from efficient insulation or use inefficient methods of heating.”

A member of South Hams District Council’s Climate Change and Biodiversity Working Group, and Leader of the Council’s Green Party, Cllr Jacqi Hodgson, added: “It is so very important that we tackle this particular carbon issue with these very welcome new funds that have become available to us. It is very timely as the winter chill sets in and we provide a low carbon alternative to turning up carbon heavy thermostats. “Insulating homes and providing more efficient, renewable sources of heating can result in energy savings of between 10 - 30% and the installation of air source heat pumps and external wall and roof insulation will go a long way towards this. I’m very positive that additional resource has been allocated to support this incredibly important work.”

To find out more about the Council’s commitment to the Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency, visit: www.climatechange.southhams.gov.uk/achievements-and-activityTo find out more about the Green Homes Project and to see if you are eligible, email: eco@swdevon.gov.uk

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