MP slams lack of electric vehicle charging points in Bexhill and Battle

Huw Merriman MP has criticised the lack of electric vehicle charging points in his Bexhill and Battle constituency.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 11:50 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 4:21 pm

He said progress to increase the number of charging points locally has been “far too slow” - and the area is not geared up for the soaring demand for electric cars. Mr Merriman, chair of the Government’s Transport Select Committee, said it is “vital” the area has sufficient plug-in infrastructure before the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles is due to end by 2030.

He spoke out as world leaders gathered for the landmark COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, saying the Transport Select Committee recently found that nearly a third of the multi-million-pound fund allocated by Government to help local authorities install on-street residential charge points was unused.

He has written to East Sussex County Council “to ask why they have not bid for funding and to encourage them to do so before it is spent in other parts of the country.”

Rother 'needs more EV charging points'. Picture: RADAR.

Community cardiologist Dr Richard Blakey says there is a “woeful lack” of EV plug-in points in Bexhill and Battle. He works at clinics in Eastbourne, “where there are many options for charging in car parks and at supermarkets. Most of my other journeys are to Uckfield, Hailsham and Lewes, all places where I can charge my car.”

However, Dr Blakey said he has recently started driving to Bexhill to visit a sick relative, and needs to charge his car there to ensure 100% use of electricity. “There is absolutely nowhere in central Bexhill,” he said, “and the nearest at Aldi is reported as out of use. If I were allowed to use the charging point at The Cooden Beach Hotel, it would be a nice help as it is only for charging Tesla vehicles, which I don’t have. There are charging points at the Hyundai and Nissan garages but obviously only for their patrons.”

He said Battle is “equally poor” with the only publicly available point at the Route 1066 Cafe on the A21.

He has searched Rother District Council’s website for posts about electric vehicle charging points in the Bexhill and Battle area - and said the answers to questions were “at best disappointing”. “They claim the electricity infrastructure is inadequate for charging points which I do not believe as so many supermarkets seem to manage to provide them,” he said.

Huw Merriman MP. SUS-211027-121317001

Rother District Council is ranked 263 out of 343 local authority areas for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, according to recent data by Compare The Market. Hastings is ranked 191 on the list, Lewes 233, and Wealden 325.

East Sussex County Council said it recognises there is a “growing level of demand” for charging points, and is currently developing a “strategic approach” to support the increased take up of electric vehicles, looking at the technical, legal, procurement and practical issues involved. “Once we have addressed these matters we will be in a position to apply for grant funding to assist with the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure,” the spokesperson added.