Published: 09:03, 04 November 2019
| Updated: 11:51, 06 November 2019
Four areas of Kent have been singled out by the government as failing to give drivers enough access to charging stations for electric vehicles.
A "league table" released by the Department for Transport identifies the distribution of charging points across the county.
Across the county, there are now 247 public charging points - 64 of which are "rapid charging".
At the top of the list for Kent towns is Ashford.
With 30 public charging points, equating to 23 per 100,000 people, it appears the place to be for drivers of electric vehicles.
But the availability across the county varies widely.
Gravesham comes bottom of the list. With just four charging points in total - four per 100,000 people - it has less than a fifth of the availability seen in Ashford.
Next is Medway, with 15 points in total, equating to just five per 100,000 people.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps branded the lack in some areas "disappointing", and is calling on local authorities to do more.
He said: "Your postcode should play no part in how easy it is to use an electric car, and I’m determined electric vehicles become the new normal for drivers.
"It’s good news there are now more charging locations than petrol stations, but the clear gaps in provision are disappointing. I urge local councils to take advantage of all the Government support on offer to help ensure drivers in their area don’t miss out."
The government is offering grants for the installation of charge points, in a bid to increase the number of electric vehicles on the roads, and improve air quality.
Minister for the Future of Transport George Freeman said: “Mapping charge points and producing a league table of availability by council area is intended to raise awareness.
“There are now more than 22,500 public charge points, and at least one rapid charge point at over 95% of all motorway services areas."
The data shows that London is currently leading the electric vehicle infrastructure revolution nationally, with almost 4,000 public electric vehicle charging devices installed in the region.
In response to the report David Hughes, chief executive of Gravesham council, said: "We are committed to tackling climate change and to becoming a carbon neutral borough by 2030. We know there is much to do to achieve that ambitious target, including in our provision of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points.
"We are working with other local authorities across Kent, including Kent County Council, to ensure future infrastructure is in place for EV charging.
"In the last year good progress has been made and we are in discussions with a potential provider about the installation of charging points in town centre car parks.
"UK Power Networks and the Energy Saving Trust are supporting us in this process, and we will be undertaking market analysis to ensure we achieve value for money for our residents and visitors.
"In terms of housing developments, our Development Management Policy requires contractors to ensure ducting compatible for the future installation of EV charging points is included in new build projects - including Gravesham Borough Council developments - ensuring we are ahead of future planning requirements.
"While we have much work to do, I can assure our residents and businesses that we take our responsibilities in tackling climate change seriously and are working hard to increase the number of charging points available to drivers of electric vehicles as quickly and efficiently as possible."
Ruth Du Lieu, assistant director of frontline services at Medway Council, said: “We are committed to tackling climate change and we are reviewing the use of all environmentally friendly options across Medway, including more electric vehicle charging points. We recently worked with a bus provider and operator to trial Medway’s first electric bus and we are reviewing how this went as well as the necessary infrastructure we would need to support electric buses and other electric vehicles.
“We also work closely with developers to remind them of their responsibility to include charging points for electric vehicles in their proposals. We are looking into funding opportunities to help us install more public electric vehicle charging points across Medway to benefit future generations.”
More by this authorLydia Chantler-Hicks