Bury St Edmunds street lights used to charge electric vehicles in West Suffolk Council trial project
Street lights are being used to charge electric vehicles in a new £45,000 trial by a council.
Twenty two charging points have been installed on lamp posts by West Suffolk Council including 16 in Bury St Edmunds in Spring Lane, Out Westgate, Eastgate Street and the Southgate area.
The authority has invested £11,400 in the project and secured £34,200 in Government funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “This is a trial scheme but we look forward to embracing more initiatives such as this.
“Friends of the Earth named West Suffolk as one of the top areas in the UK for tackling climate change and supporting the environment late last year but we recognise more must be done.”
The council has written to residents in the area to tell them how to register to use the chargers for their electric vehicles (EVs).
They register with their bank details, the machine clocks how much electricity they use and makes a monthly debit charge.
The rate is 23p/kwh inlcuding VAT.
Their use at each location will be monitored and if there is a need elsewhere, the council will either apply to OLEV for more funding for extra charge points, or relocate those which are underused.
Two of the other charge points have been installed in Exning in response to local requests, while four are in All Saints Car Park, in Newmarket .
Cllr Griffiths added: “We recorded a 45 per cent drop in air pollution during lockdown, and while we recognise this is because people had to stay at home, we are keen to keep the environmental and health benefits of improved air quality.
“While we will continue to encourage people to walk or cycle or make other changes were possible such as working from home, West Suffolk is a rural area and people will still need to use their car for some journeys.
“By working with our partners, we are improving the EV infrastructure to give people more confidence to switch to EV or hybrid vehicles, cut pollution and help both the environment and our health.”
Suffolk County Council, which manages the street lights, has backed the scheme.
Cllr Andrew Reid, county cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs, said: “I would very much welcome further charging points being rolled out in other areas as part of Suffolk County Council’s carbon neutral by 2030 action plan.”