CARS: Charge points are essential

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I am delighted to learn of the county council’s plans for multi-storey car parks across the county in the interests of economic regeneration.

In particular, I note Coun Davey’s comment that: “It’s important we look now at our future needs and address them.” (Northumberland Gazette, December 1).

One of our most important future needs will undoubtedly be adequate parking and recharging points for electric cars.

There is a growing interest in electric cars, especially as we have Nissan producing them within our region and more and more people are buying them.

Furthermore, the Government has recently announced that electric cars are to be at the centre of Britain’s long-term industrial strategy.

Electric cars and the associated infrastructure, therefore, would seem to be a very important aspect of those future needs to which Coun Davey refers.

During the past few months, my wife and I have attempted to use the Rapid Charge Point at the Willowburn Leisure Centre while we do our shopping, only to find it out of commission.

Similarly, when we have attempted to charge our car at the Eldon Garden multi-storey car park in Newcastle we have regularly found several of the charge points out of service.

On a recent visit to Durham, we attempted to charge our car at the only Rapid Charge Point at the Park and Ride interchange, only to find that too out of commission.

When making plans for our future infrastructure needs, let us please have some joined-up thinking.

Diesel cars are increasingly being discouraged on environmental grounds, and electric cars are being encouraged.

Yes, we need more parking spaces. Yes, multi-storey car parks in our major centres may well be essential.

But if the Government means what it says about the role of electric cars in its industrial strategy, equal emphasis will need to be given to a supporting network of well-maintained, easily accessible and reliable charge points.

It is essential that these be integrated into the proposed multi-storey car parks that Coun Davey envisages, and that further reliable provision be made at existing car parks.

Dr Clive Wilkinson,

Silverton Lane,

Rothbury