Electric vehicle charging: Which North East councils are surging ahead?

Written by on 8th December 2023

Investment in electric vehicle charging by five councils in the North East has been revealed, and some are way ahead of others. 

An electric vehicle charging in Newcastle | Image – Callum Rowe

Freedom of Information requests were sent to councils in Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland. 

Data provided by the councils shows how many electric vehicle (EV) charging points they each operate in council-run car parks, and how many new charging points are planned to be made available for public use over the next 12 months. 

Sunderland City Council leads the way, currently operating 179 charging points. It also intends to install 150 new charging points over the next 12 months, but this figure is subject to securing grant funding. 

A spokesperson for Sunderland City Council said: “As the UK moves towards a low carbon economy, there is growing demand for EVs and the necessary infrastructure.

“Councils across the region are working with Transport North East on a regional funding bid to secure major investment in charge point infrastructure while also seeking to secure private funding from charge point operators.

“In Sunderland, ward councillors are currently being consulted on possible options for more than 200 new charging points that residents could access.

“The council and its partners are continuing to work towards improving and expanding support for EVs.” 

Newcastle City Council is in second place behind Sunderland with 86 charging points. 

A spokesperson said: “Newcastle City Council’s new Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy will be released shortly with plans to install an estimated 280 new electric vehicle charge points in the next few years as well as renewing the 86 current points already installed. 

“We have not finalised the exact number that will be installed in the next 12 months.” 

South Tyneside Council operates 60 charging points and will install a further 24 in the next year, while North Tyneside Council maintains 16 and will add six more before the end of 2024. 

Gateshead Council has 36 charging points for electric vehicles, but is the only council in the region that has no plans to install any more in the next year. 

Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead councils also provided backdated figures which track their investment over the last five years. Sunderland’s offering has more than tripled from 52 charging points in 2019, South Tyneside’s has nearly doubled from 33, while Gateshead’s has increased by 13 from 23. 

Newcastle City Council and North Tyneside Council were unable to provide pre-2023 figures. 

Data from the Freedom of Information request has also revealed what councils are doing to support drivers of electric taxis through the implementation of taxi-only charging points. 

Newcastle City Council and Sunderland City Council operate one taxi-only charging point each, while South Tyneside and Gateshead councils operate two each. 

Taxi-only electric vehicle charging point in Blandford Square, Newcastle | Image – Callum Rowe

However, Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead councils will not be increasing their current offering in the next 12 months. 

Newcastle City Council is blazing the trail with a plan to introduce ultra-rapid charging points to an additional four taxi ranks in the city in the next year. 

North Tyneside Council is the only local authority without a taxi-only charging point and no plan to make any available in the next 12 months.

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