AQW 13154/17-22

Mr Andrew Muir
Alliance Party
North Down

Tabled Date: 21/01/2021
Answered On Date: 04/02/2021
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister for Infrastructure to detail the electric vehicle charging provision to be available at the five new park and ride projects during the first phase this financial year.

The primary objective of park and ride is to encourage users to avail of sustainable public transport close to where they live.
To maximise use and encourage uptake of electric vehicles, electric charge points need to provide a quick turnaround of vehicles to provide access for multiple vehicles. This approach works very well on the public road network however at park and ride/park and share sites, vehicles tend to be plugged in for longer periods of time.
As you may be aware, there is a significant cost of installing and maintaining the necessary electric vehicle charging infrastructure. It is difficult therefore to see the commercial viability of such an application with low energy consumption from vehicles making short trips, topping up energy and blocking charging bays for other users. 
Electric Vehicle charge points can however serve as an attractor to urban areas for environmentally friendly road users making longer vehicle journeys. This in turn not only improves air quality but also encourages foot fall and helps to stimulate the local business in these streets and towns.
It is anticipated, that where possible the majority of EV charging should be carried out at home, with the majority of EV drivers having availed of the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) home charge point grant. The public charge point network is designed to provide opportunity charging where EV drivers can charge for a short period of time when necessary.
My officials have been working closely with OZEV on opportunities for funding to support grid connections for rapid charging on strategic road networks at new and existing service stations. My Department is also leading on the transport elements of the Department for the Economy’s proposed new Energy Strategy which will include future policy development for the electrification of transport.
Recently, I have been able to support the EU INTERREG VA Funded FASTER electric vehicle network project. The project will complement and enhance the existing EV charging infrastructure, which was co-financed by the EU through TEN-T funding. The project is to install a total of 73 EV Rapid charging points across the island of Ireland and the West of Scotland by 31 March 2023.
My Department has recently been engaging with ESB on their plans to upgrade and improve the reliability of the existing public network. Departmental officials are currently engaging with ESB to assist with their plans to replace approx. 70 charge points i.e. 35 charge posts. ESB can be contacted at or enquiries can be sent directly to ESB, Two Gateway, East Wall Road, Dublin 3, D03 A995.
In addition, I am also making changes to the planning system, through permitted development rights, to make it easier to expand the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. This will allow expansion work to proceed without the need to apply for planning permission helping to make e-charging more accessible across the North.
I fully recognise the importance of having modern, reliable public electric vehicle charging infrastructure in providing confidence for users of ultra-low emission vehicles and in respect of the connectivity improvements this would bring.