THERE is ‘no point’ in investing in new electric vehicle charging infrastructure as they are not all being connected to the national grid, a councillor has warned.

An electric charging stations for six cars was installed outside the Airport Roundabout garage in Weston-super-Mare months ago but it is still not operational.

Drivers stopping at the garage can fill up with Shell fuel 24/7, grab some supplies from Budgens, get a coffee, or even use the car wash — but drivers of electric vehicles still cannot use the electric charging station.

Raising the issue at a North Somerset Council debate on the council’s net zero ambitions on September 19, councillor Marcia Pepperall said: “They set up a large number of electrical charging posts there — high powered ones, just what is needed — but they have been waiting months just to get the supply.”

She added: “So really, without National Grid doing a better job, they are wasted and seems no point putting up any more in Weston if they can’t supply those.”

The council’s executive member for climate, waste, and sustainability, Annemieke Waite, responded: “That is outside our control and there is nothing we can do about that.” 

In June, the council executive approved the North Somerset ‘electric vehicle strategy’ which said that almost two thousand new electric chargers would be needed across the district by 2030 — with the public sector expected to be needed to foot the bill for over 600 of them.

The council is expecting the number of electric vehicles driven in North Somerset to boom over that period.

Last year, there were 2,291 electric vehicles in the district but the council is forecasting that there could be more than 37,500 by 2030.

But the council debate on September 19 was focussed on the council’s target of being net zero by 2030 more generally, and allowing council officers to bid for decarbonisation funding.

After a debate in which councillors sceptical of the scientific consensus that climate change is man-made were branded “dinosaurs” by the council leader, councillors voted to reaffirm their commitment to the ambition of achieving net zero by 2030.

The vote came just one day before Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke about relaxing aspects of the country’s efforts to hit net zero nationwide by 2050.