A Northern Ireland council has been warned it is facing “dire straits” over its lack of electric vehicle charging points.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council could potentially seek to install over 180 electric vehicle charging points throughout the district following stark concerns raised in chambers.
Recent estimates from the local authority show that individual electric charging points for the public could cost £12,000 each.
A Council report found that to install around 180 charging points could cost “as much as £2.7 million in total”, a figure officials deemed “unrealistic” from a cost point of view.
Downpatrick councillor Cadogan Enright (Alliance) has now forwarded a motion to activate a two year trial with private companies to install and operate 120 new charging points across the council area.
He said: “This is a most extraordinary situation that the council now faces and indeed the whole of Northern Ireland if nothing is done and very soon.
“There are over 8,000 council car parking spaces in our district of 68,000 households and the council has only one rapid electric charging point, that hasn’t even been working for the last two years.
“This is the third largest district in Northern Ireland and it only has a total of 13 normal vehicle charging points. The council did a report in May 2022 and stated that it could not afford either the upper end of 180 charging points or the lower target of just 1% or 80 charging points across its parking spaces.
“I have investigated and have been advised by private companies that they are willing to invest in not only generating the charging points, but actually running them and providing added revenue to the council.
“At the moment we are facing dire straits. The fact is in the next 10 years we could see an end to petrol and diesel filling stations with the council having nothing else in place.
“There are just over half the residential homes in the district that have front garden space to have electric charging points put in. That leaves well over 30,000 households, many with multiple cars with no future access to electric charging for vehicles.
“The reality is that NMDDC is not on its own, this is the common story we can see right across Northern Ireland.”
NMDDC has confirmed further debate on the matter.
A spokesperson said: “The notice of motion presented by Cllr Enright at Monday night’s meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is due to be discussed at a future sustainability and environment committee meeting, therefore no further comment can be provided at this time.”