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Source: Scotland – Highland Council

Highland Council’s ongoing commitment to tackling the climate emergency is being clearly evidenced through its ongoing EV (Electric Vehicle) infrastructure programme.

Chair of the Highland Council’s Climate Change Working Group, Cllr Trish Robertson, said: “The continuation of our commitment to EV infrastructure is a key part of Highland Council’s responsibility in relation to just some of the work we are doing to combat the climate emergency the local authority recognised last year.

“EVs represent just one of the ways we as individuals can help to reduce our impact on the environment in Highland.

“I am looking forward to the forthcoming Highland Climate Change Conference and listening to all the ways we can help reduce our carbon footprint.”

The Scottish Government has pledged to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans across Scotland by 2032.

Highland Council has been awarded over £3m since the first EV charge point was installed in 2012, £2.1m of which has been delivered since 2018.

The Council is part of the Local Authority Installation Programme (LAIP), which is an annual funding programme which further develops the EV public charging network so that EV drivers can confidently travel throughout Scotland – in both urban and rural locations.

EVs will form part of the discussion at the Highland Council-hosted Highland Climate Change Conference which is being held virtually on November 2.

This year’s Highland Climate Change Conference will feature inspirational and knowledgeable speakers, including Roseanna Cunningham MSP (Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform), Dr Roxane Andersen (Senior Research Fellow at the Environmental Research Institute of UHI), David Whiteford (Chairman of North Highland Initiative), Lord Thurso (Chairman of Visit Scotland), Graham Neville (Area Manager, Northern Isles and North Highland of NatureScot) and Dr Marco Springmann (Senior Researcher, Oxford University).

The conference and associated workshops will all take place online and on the same day and will all be free to attend at this link.

To date the Highland Council has delivered over 30 EV charge points around the region. It is expected that upon completion of the current 2020/21 projects, this provision will have increased to over 80.

There are two key projects in the delivery phase, including:

  • General EV infrastructure – to expand general electric charging infrastructure in rural and urban areas where there is an existing or anticipated need.
  • Electric A9 – a specifically branded project that will provide EV charging for long distance journeys, local charging for businesses and residents and charging at destinations. The hubs will be located along the route of the A9 within local communities; providing multiple charge points and access to amenities.

At present in Highland 36 new charge points are underway, a further 16 are in development for this financial year, a pipeline of additional sites are in development so that they are ready to go thereafter and site suggestions are being influenced through a range of sources including: communities and public engagement, funding agencies and delivery partners and internal teams and officers.

A Strategic Control Plan is in development which seeks to accelerate delivery by improving the early planning/management of projects.

Cllr Robertson added: “This will help make EV infrastructure rollout more effective and integrated with other low carbon/transport plans in Highland.”