Urgent improvements are needed to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s electric charging strategy, according to the region’s Liberal Democrats, who have warned that the plan seems to have no plan for delivery.
With a new clean air zone planned for Manchester, ensuring that there is the support needed for alternative fuels is crucial. Yet with 3,000 public chargers needed by 2025, the region has just 323 in place, and only plans to add another 54 in the next year.
Oldham Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani said: “This strategy is completely divorced from reality if they think that this is good enough. At this rate, we wouldn’t have a public charging network in place in 50 years, never mind five.
“It is an insult to the drivers who are being told that they must drive green vehicles to avoid a charge that the Greater Manchester Combined Authorities are failing so badly to provide them with an alternative.”
The clean air zone is due to launch on 30 May 2022, and while some finance is available to help companies purchase less polluting vehicles, the lack of public charging points means that there will be minimal practical support for fuelling many of these vehicles.
Councillor Al-Hamdani continued: “It is important that we move to more sustainable modes of transport, but with such a lack of a public charging infrastructure, the clean air zone is all stick and no carrot.
“It is a complete failure of national and regional Government to put the necessary facilities in place, and if Andy Burnham and the GMCA are ploughing on with this in the face of these terrible figures, then they are just burying their head in the sand.”