Coalition scraps national network of charging points for electric cars

The coalition Government's green credentials were called into question yesterday after it scrapped plans for a nationwide network of recharging points for electric cars.

The Department for Transport, which had planned to have 9,000 recharging points by 2013, has decided that the programme is not viable. The scheme offers matching funds to local businesses and public sector partners who install the points.

At present there are about 700 points. The 8,600 electric vehicles expected to be sold by the end of this year would require some 4,700 points.

In a new strategy document, the department said: "Most recharging is likely to take place at home and at work, so an extensive public recharging infrastructure would be under-utilised and uneconomic."

It wants most recharging to take place at night, after the peak in electricity demand, supported by workplace charging for commuters and vehicle fleets, and a limited amount of public infrastructure. John Woodcock, Labour's transport spokesman, accused the Government of smuggling out the U-turn on Thursday under cover of the strikes by teachers, lecturers and civil servants. He said Parliament had not been told.

"The Conservative-led Government is desperate to hide the fact it is failing to live up to its boast to be the greenest government ever," he said.

Mr Woodcock pointed out that the Coalition Agreement signed last year pledged to "mandate a national recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles". He added: "The lack of fanfare for the electric cars announcement, and the fact it was published when the news agenda was dominated by the public sector strikes suggests that ministers were attempting to bury bad news."

Mr Woodcock said: "People will be highly suspicious about the way ministers have slipped out this broken promise to help drivers switch to electric vehicles."

The Labour frontbencher has submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act in an attempt to find out how the decision on the handling of the announcement was taken.

Ministers denied Labour's claim as "ridiculous", producing a press release they issued on Thursday about the change of strategy.

Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, said: "The ability to re-charge is a key part of the jigsaw in supporting the growth of the electric vehicle market. It is crucial, therefore, that we make the process as simple as possible.

"Public chargepoints are part of the answer but putting a chargepoint on every corner is not the right approach.

"It is most convenient for drivers and best for the energy system for the majority of charging to happen at home. "

The Committee on Climate Change has said that the UK needs to have 1.7 million electric vehicles by the year 2020 to be on course to hit ambitious carbon-reduction targets.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power