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Environmentally-friendly travel to be boosted in remote communities

The Let’s Talk campaign in North Yorkshire is asking local people about what is important to them about where they live, how they think the new North Yorkshire council should spend their money and what they hope devolution will bring. This case study is from Let’s Talk Devolution.

Visitor economy businesses in the remotest parts of North Yorkshire are set to benefit from plans to improve public infrastructure for charging electric vehicles.

As part of the proposed devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire, there are plans to ensure that motorists will be able to easily charge their electric vehicles wherever they are in the region.

The ambitious programme would support the visitor economy during the phase-out of diesel and petrol vehicles as part of the UK transition to net zero.

Demand for charging points is expected to soar within the next decade as motorists switch to electric vehicles ahead of a ban on petrol and diesel engines in new vehicles from 2030.

The vast rural areas of North Yorkshire present significant issues to ensure a cost-effective network of electric charging points can be introduced, despite drivers being heavily reliant on their cars to make often long journeys through England’s largest county. A lack of off-street parking in some urban and rural areas also presents a barrier for motorists switching to electric vehicles.

Businesses have welcomed the prospect of a greener transport network.

Glenda Calvert, co-owner of Upper Swaledale Holidays in the Yorkshire Dales, said: “This will be massively encouraging and reassuring for businesses like ours as more and more people buy electric cars.

“If we get inquiries from potential visitors with electric cars, we can say ‘no problem – there is a charger’ and we don’t have to worry about people trying to charge their vehicles from the mains electricity.

“We are at the furthest point of Upper Swaledale, half-a-mile from the source of the River Swale. We just love to share the place with people from towns and cities.

“It is the landscape which makes the area so special, with vast open spaces for walks and dark skies at night. People love our farming lifestyle, the James Herriot locations, the birds and the wildlife, but who’s going to come here with an electric car?

“People with electric cars think very carefully about where they travel. They can’t just whizz off to the middle of nowhere without knowing there is a charger.

“Also, the price of fuel is making people think twice about driving extra distances to places that are out on a limb.

“When you are running a business in a remote location, you don’t want any obstacles in your way. You need to be able to provide almost everything.”

Mrs Calvert and her husband diversified their pedigree sheep breeding business into a bed and breakfast enterprise in 2005 to make full use of their hill farm.

She added: “The visitor economy is very important to the Yorkshire Dales. It cannot be underestimated how much extra income is generated from accommodation, meals, attractions and days out. It generates a lot of income for a lot of people.”

The proposed devolution deal acknowledges the challenges that North Yorkshire faces with transport connectivity as a large rural area and recognises the aspirations to improve public electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

It is hoped that better infrastructure could increase the uptake of electric vehicles and reduce carbon emissions by supporting all motorists to make the switch.

As part of the proposed deal, the Government is set to commit to work with the new combined authority to access the forthcoming £450 million local electric vehicle infrastructure scheme for local authorities.

Latest figures show there are almost 4,000 electric vehicles registered in North Yorkshire, and 225 publicly available charge points, and take-up of electric vehicles is rising rapidly each year.

County council officers forecast that 3,161 charge points will be needed by 2030, of which half will need to be funded by the public sector at an estimated cost of £10.3 million.

The forecast total number of charge points required is 900 higher than in 2020, which reflects the rapid take-up of electric vehicles since then.

The county council is taking advantage of an opportunity to bid for funding from the £20 million national Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) pilot scheme. The county secured £2.2 million, which will pay for 70 charge points, 10 in each of North Yorkshire’s seven districts.

The scheme will see charge points installed alongside battery storage units, which will be charged by solar panels. The technology will be sympathetic to the rural locations and will see residential charge points in both on-street locations and larger charging hubs.

The leader of North Yorkshire County Council, Cllr Carl Les, said: “The visitor economy is one of our greatest strengths, underpinning more than 41,000 jobs and attracting £1.7bn in annual spend from domestic and overseas visitors.

“The devolution deal aims to support the continued success of small businesses in the remotest parts of North Yorkshire with the delivery of essential new charging infrastructure for the net zero economy.”

The Government has announced the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030. All new cars and vans will be fully zero emission at the tailpipe from 2035.

Tell us what you think about the proposed devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire. Take part in the public consultation today by visiting online.


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