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Green Councillor Draeyk van der Horn claims Moray's electric vehicle infrastructure is inadequate

By Garry McCartney

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Councillor van der Horn at an EV charging point at The Park, Findhorn.
Councillor van der Horn at an EV charging point at The Park, Findhorn.

MORAY’S climate champion has been unable to persuade the local authority to investigate ways to allow residents to charge electric vehicles (EVs) from home.

Following numerous complaints about existing infrastructure, Councillor Draeyk van der Horn (Forres, Green) proposed a motion to the Economic, Development and Infrastructure Committee calling for a policy to allow charging infrastructure over public footways.

He said: “Folk are frustrated about broken charging points and delays to their repair. People are running loose cables over paths - a hazard to pedestrians that could lead to litigation. This is a part of a larger issue, since the UK dropped its target for EV cars, many have been devalued by 50 per cent and is another example of failing to invest in our future”

He added: “I’ve had discussions with dozens of people, not just about charging from home, but people parking in charging spaces and chargers being broken. One told me they spent an hour looking for a spot and being late to work because they can’t charge at home and public chargers are in use or broken. Others tell me they can’t risk investing in EV cars because they can’t either afford or access expensive public chargers which I’ve had reports of being broken for up to six months.”

Cllr van der Horn believes Moray needs better public transport and less reliance on private vehicles.

He said: “We are car dependent, especially in rural areas, yet we must transition from oil dependency to zero emissions vehicles urgently - Moray is unprepared for that change. EV plans for new public chargers will only start in 2025, with a handful of new chargers, and a promise of 61 over time.”

Cllr van der Horn highlighted Auto Trader Group’s recent ‘Road to 2035’ report which states: “The zero-emission vehicle mandate, requiring that at least 80 per cent of all new car sales are electric by 2030, has negated the overall impact of the delayed date announced at the end of last year. The UK government has repeatedly undermined and utterly failed in supporting a fair and just transition for all, and not just the wealthy.”

The councillor’s research revealed that around 13,000 households in Moray (around one third) have no off-road parking. The Scottish average of five per cent is estimated to have an EV car as their main vehicle, meaning around 650 households in Moray are currently dependent on public chargers that cost 30-56p kWh. Cheap home charging can be as low as 7p kWh.

“That’s a staggering cost burden on households during a cost of living crisis,” said cllr van der Horn. “It represents discrimination against those who do not have the luxury of off-road parking and explains why so many choose to run cables over pavements illegally.”

The motion to committee was based on a permissions system already used in other council areas. The cost of a permission would be in the region of £179. If all owners of EVs have access to the permission, he believes it could bring in an estimated £116,000 to Moray Council over annum.

He explained that, to avoid a trip hazard, charging over pavements would mean running permanent troughs for cables. It may also mean covers with a mat or overhead leaver.

“The success of this motion could have meant income to invest in local services, increased take up of electric cars and freed up charging points. Households would have saved hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pounds per annum. It was a win-win so I’m shocked and disappointed it didn’t move forward.”

Following a 7-7 vote, which included a block vote by Conservative councillors, the casting vote went to chairman of the committee, Cllr Marc Macrae who voted against the motion.

A council spokesperson pointed out that the local authority does not have responsibility for every charging point - private bodies also run, and are responsible, for them.

She said: “There are currently 90 charging points available for public use in Moray, with 28 of these owned by Moray Council. We are looking to fund a further 61 charging points via Scottish Government funding streams. Faults can occur because of connection problems - the council has maintenance contract arrangements in place with Swarco.”

Information on public chargers can be found on the Charge Place Scotland website.

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