The electric car fleet purchased by West Dunbartonshire Council when the SNP were in power.
By Bill Heaney
The SNP-Green government are “miles off” ensuring Scotland has enough electric vehicle charging points to hit a crucial 2030 target, new analysis from the Scottish Conservatives reveals today.
Figures from Charge Place Scotland – the charging network owned by the SNP-Green government – show that only 169 chargers were added to Scotland’s charging network between October 2022 and August 2023.
A fleet of electric cars for staff was purchased by West Dunbartonshire but it was found there were not enough charging points that would allow them to get to Rosneath and back. They were left lying and rusting out in the rain.
There are now more charging points locally – in the leisure centre car park in Helensburgh, for example – but the now Labour-controlled West Dunbartonsire Council refuse to answers questions from The Democrat about the number of charging points and their locations here.
Despite the Climate Change Committee setting a target of 30,000 charging points to be in place by 2030. Last year, the SNP-Green government acknowledged the need to deliver on that target in order to meet demand.
There have been claims that motorists were charging their cars for free in the charging facility lot at Aurora House, the council offices in Clydebank because there was no other facility in the area.
A separate estimate from the SNP-Green government says there were almost 4,000 charging points in Scotland as of June 2023.
Using these figures, 1,900 charging points were installed between January 2022 and June 2023, meaning on current pace the SNP-Green government would miss their 2030 target by a “whopping” 12 years.
Shadow net zero, energy and transport secretary Douglas Lumsden says it is “all too typical” of the SNP-Green government’s “woeful” record on environmental issues that they look set to miss yet another target.
He says that ministers must “urgently up their game” if more Scots – particularly in rural and remote communities – are to be encouraged into switching their petrol and diesel vehicles for electric ones in the coming years.
The SNP-Green government have admitted they will now have to push back their plans to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2035, rather than 2032, following the announcement by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in relation to net-zero.
Douglas Lumsden says the Prime Minister’s measures are “sensible and pragmatic” and urged the SNP-Green government to take a similar “common sense” approach if they are to meet their climate change commitments.
Scottish Conservative shadow net zero, energy and transport secretary Douglas Lumsden MSP, left, said: “These eye-opening statistics lay bare the fact that this SNP-Green government are miles off delivering the electric charging points needed to meet demand across Scotland.
“It is simply pitiful that fewer than 200 charging points were added to the network over a spell of 10 months. Progress is going at a snail’s pace and that is all too typical of the SNP-Green government’s woeful record on environmental targets.
“They have failed to meet their emission reduction targets in eight out of the last 12 years and only this week they have had to admit they’ve breached climate laws.
“Ministers need to urgently up their game. Many Scots should be commended for doing their bit to switch to electric vehicles but in vast swathes of the country – particularly in rural Scotland – the infrastructure simply is not in place to allow them to do so.
“The Prime Minister’s sensible and pragmatic announcements in relation to net zero must make SNP-Green ministers think again. They need to take a similar common sense approach if they are to ever hit their climate change targets and ensure people are on side.
“Over 4,000 charging points need to be installed every year if this target is to be met by 2030. At current pace the SNP-Green government will miss this by at least a whopping 12 years, despite Scotland’s aim to achieve net zero by 2045.
“The SNP-Green government need to look closer to home when it comes to tackling climate change and they could start by properly investing in Scotland’s electric vehicle charging network.”
ChargePlace Scotland report that just 169 public chargers were added to Scotland’s national electric vehicle charging network since October 2022. ChargePlace Scotland reported that in October 2022, there were 2,318 electric vehicle charging points across the country. This had increased to 2,487 by August 2023, a rise of just 169 chargers in 10 months. (ChargePlace Scotland monthly performance, Accessed 22 September 2023, link).
ChargePlace Scotland is Scotland’s national Electric Vehicle charging network owned by the Scottish Government. They state on their website: ‘ChargePlace Scotland is Scotland’s national Electric Vehicle (EV) charging network. We’re owned and have been developed by the Scottish Government, and funded in partnership through a public grant from Local Authorities and other organisations.’ (ChargePlace Scotland, Accessed 22 September 2023, link).
The Scottish Government acknowledge 30,000 charging points will be needed to meet demand in Scotland. A planning consultation from the Scottish Government states: ‘the Report referred to the Climate Change Committee estimate that the number of such charging points would need to grow to 30,000 to meet the growth in demand’. (Scottish Government planning consultation, 11 May 2022, link).
Scotland currently has fewer than 4,000 charging points despite the Climate Change Committee setting a target of 30,000 electric vehicle charging points by 2030. The latest estimate states that there are ‘almost 4,000’ charging points across Scotland as of June 2023. However, the Scottish Government’s target is 30,000 charging points by 2030, meaning around 4,300 charging points need to be installed a year. Between January 2022 and June 2023, only 1,900 charging points were installed. (Vision for Scotland’s Public Electric Vehicle Charging Network, 19 June 2023, link).
At current pace, the SNP Government will not hit the 30,000 charging points target until at least 2042 – 12 years after 2030.Given that around 1,900 charging points were installed between January 2022 and June 2023, this is equivalent to roughly 1,341 charging points per year. This means at the current rate the SNP would not reach the 30,000 target until 2042 – 12 years after the deadline. (Draft vision for Scotland’s Public Electric Vehicle Charging Network, 26 January 2022, link; Vision for Scotland’s Public Electric Vehicle Charging Network, 19 June 2023, link).