1. To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to increase the capacity of on-street charging infrastructure as drivers switch to electric vehicles. (S6O-00225)
We have already invested over £45 million to develop the publicly available ChargePlace Scotland network, which now consists of more than 1,900 charge points across the country. The network includes a number of public charging hubs that are already available in some towns and cities. More are planned throughout Scotland.
We continue to work with local authority charge point hosts to strengthen and expand the network. This year, we will provide funding to enable £2 million of on-street charging projects across Scotland, specifically for areas without access to off-street parking.
There are many rural villages and market towns in my constituency—including mine—in which properties are hard to pavement. As such, they do not have private driveways. Those properties currently do not qualify for grant funding for the installation of home chargers, which leaves many citizens to rely on on-street charging infrastructure should they wish to reduce their carbon footprint. Is the Scottish Government aware of those situations throughout Scotland? What considerations are being made for the many people who are in that situation?
As an MSP for a rural constituency, I am very much aware of those issues. I hope that Ms Whitham will take assurance from the fact that Government officials are working with South Ayrshire Council to support the installation of chargers that will provide for people without access to off-street charging in Straiton, Barrhill, Dailly and Maybole.
The Scottish Government is also currently consulting on the requirements for installing charge points in car parks of residential and non-residential buildings. That will further enhance access to electric vehicle charging across Scotland.
South Lanarkshire Council said that it would install more than 100 electric vehicle charging points, but it has cut that plan by 42 per cent. Notwithstanding the challenges of the pandemic, a £1 million fleet of electric vehicles has barely left the council car park in a year. Charging is a big concern. What can the Scottish Government do to help South Lanarkshire Council to expand local charging networks and make people feel more confident about using electric vehicles?
As Monica Lennon will understand, any actions that South Lanarkshire Council has taken are for it to defend and explain. However, to answer her question about engagement with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Government is actively engaged with local authorities in seeking to encourage that. That is our direction of travel, and we expect local authorities to join us in that.
The most recent statistics show that Scotland has more than 2,500 publicly available chargers, which represents 47 chargers per 100,000 of the population. That compares with 36 chargers per 100,000 of the population for the whole of the UK. It is important that Scotland has the highest proportion of rapid chargers and is well ahead of the rest of the UK on that. That proportion is 12 per 100,000 of the population compared with the UK average of 6.8 per 100,000 of the population.
There is, of course, much more to do, because the uptake of electric vehicles is showing a welcome increase.