Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport & Rural Affairs Colin Smyth has urged the Scottish Government to “go further and faster” on increasing electric car charging points.

The local MSP asked Minister for Environment and Land Reform Mairi McAllan about the government’s targets for public charging points.

Speaking in the chamber on Tuesday, Colin Smyth said: “Although electric vehicles contribute to air pollution by producing brake and tyre dust, which means that we need fewer cars and not only cleaner ones, EVs do not emit nitrogen dioxide and so are part of the solution in improving air quality.

“The Climate Change Committee estimates that we will need at least 30,000 public EV charging points in Scotland by 2030, but the Government’s target is for just over 4,000 in the next few years. Given that only 395 public charging points were installed last year, when does the minister think that Scotland will reach the figure of 30,000 public EV charging points, which are desperately needed?”

Last month, Colin Smyth submitted a written question asking the Scottish Government “how many additional public charging points for electric vehicles (EV) are planned for South Scotland, broken down by local authority area” (see table below and link).

In total (including North Ayrshire, which isn’t included in the south Scotland constituency), there are 590 ChargePlace Scotland Existing Chargers but plans for just 73 to be added to the public network .

Colin Smyth commented: “We must go further and faster when it comes to increasing electric car charging points.

“In our budget proposals, Labour set out plans to increase the number by 4,000 a year.

“The SNP Green Government should also get on with bringing Scotland in line with England and make it a requirement that new homes should be built with charging points.

“In rural areas such as ours, the lack of charging points is acting as a real barrier to people making the switch from petrol and diesel to electric cars.

“Electric cars won’t cut congestion on city roads, especially at a time the SNP and Greens are axing rail and bus services and hiking fares, and there remains huge cost barriers for those on low incomes when it comes purchasing them, but they do have a role to play in cutting transport emissions.

“At this rate of progress, it’s no wonder the SNP and Greens keep failing to hit their climate targets.”

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