Taxi plan stalls over chargers

A lack of charging points for electric cars in Wyre has left a taxi driver feeling powerless.

Monday, 31st October 2016, 9:30 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 9:53 am
Taxi driver Simon Sharples has no where to charge his electric car
Taxi driver Simon Sharples has no where to charge his electric car

Simon Sharples, 46 has been a driver for 15 years but wanted to go green to protect the environment.

He said he spoke to Wyre Council while researching a new car and was told that electric points were going to be installed in the area for the public, thanks to Westminster funding.

But two months after buying a Nissan Leaf, he said he is frustrated with the lack of charging points across the Fylde coast despite Government funding being available.

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He said there was just one effective one in Blackpool – at the Talbot Road car park – and none at all in Wyre leaving him with either a six or 12 mile round trip to power up.

Mr Sharples, of Elm Avenue, Poulton, said: “This is a major problem for anyone wanting to be environmentally friendly and move to electric vehicles.

“The only useful one is at Talbot Road but they close the car park at times so it is not available 24 hours. It is three hours out of my working day and costs £1 for two hours charging but £3 for the parking.

“There are three types of charger – slow, fast and rapid.

“The slow ones are of no use at all as it can take 10 hours to fully charge your car.

“The fast ones take around four hours and the rapid three.

“Premier Taxis have a rapid one for their Leaf cars but of course that is not open to the public.

“Because I am a customer I can use the ones at the Nissan dealerships but it is not convenient to drive all that way and then sit there waiting for the car to charge. When my sister and I were researching the Leaf we spoke to Wyre Council and they said they had plans to install them but they have not been taken forward. Lancashire County Council has not installed any either despite the Government supporting the environmental scheme since 2013.

“I don’t understand why any of the councils are not putting these in at all their car parks.”

A spokesman for Wyre Council said confusion had arisen with County Hall as to whether charging points were going to be put in car parks, as they wanted, or at other sties.

They said: “Approximately 12 months ago we were looking into installing chargers in a number of our car parks, however Lancashire County Council was also seeking funds to install charging points throughout the county.

“As a consequence our plans to introduce charging points were dropped. Now we understand that LCC is no longer planning to provide charging units to local authorities for car parks so, we are now revisiting our plans.”

Daniel Herbert, highways network manager for Lancashire County Council, said: “We made a successful bid to the Department for Transport to invest in new technology, including LED streetlights and electric charging points for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.

“We’ve been installing the new streetlights for the past three years and are currently in the planning phase of the part of the scheme which aims to establish at least 150 new charging points by the end of March 2018.

“The installation of charging points has always been scheduled for the final year of the scheme as it will be funded from savings achieved by having more efficient streetlights.

“Our plan is to create a network of charging points across the county so that electric vehicle users can be sure they’re never too far away from a charging point. It is hoped the first charging points will be installed in early 2017.”