Twenty-four charge points for electric vehicles are sitting idle at a motorway service station because of a lack of power.
The chargers at Moto Medway have not been connected to electricity because of mistakes made by South Eastern Power Network when applying for road closures to carry out the work, according to Medway Council.
In order to encourage drivers to switch to electric vehicles, the government has committed to restrict the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
It means a network of chargers is essential to keep vehicles on the move, but getting them up-and-running is proving a challenge.
Nick Tatum, Moto Hospitality’s chief customer officer, said: “Our Medway location is a prime example of the difficulties we are facing when it comes to securing power for Ultra Rapid chargers for electric vehicles at our sites across the UK. This is due to the delays we are experiencing with permits being granted by local authorities.
“Currently, there are 24 Ultra Rapid chargers installed at our Medway site at junction 4 of the M2, but these are now on hold, awaiting offsite connections, due to permit delays.”
Mr Tatum added: “There are a further 20 Ultra Rapid chargers that were due to be installed earlier this year that are now in a holding pattern too. As a result, we currently only have seven medium power & AC chargers operational on site, which were installed in 2021.
“The permits for works related to the Ultra Rapid chargers were initially granted but were then taken away, pushing back our original planned date for the majority of the chargers to ‘go live’ from June this year to potentially December.
“With the support of UKPN, we have now been offered a portion of the overall power to be delivered earlier, therefore meaning that the 12 Tesla chargers at Medway West [London-bound] are likely to be fully commissioned in September.
“One of the permits was revoked in relation to traffic management. We had waited a number of months for the permit to be issued, it was then revoked and we then needed to start the entire process again. We feel there should be a process to fast-track the subsequent permits in situations such as this.”
Mr Tatum said clear guidance was needed from central government and local authorities that permits for UR chargers should be granted as a priority as they are crucial to the nation becoming net zero by 2050.
A Medway Council spokesman said: "We are supportive of businesses that are looking to install electric vehicle charging points, as this supports our climate change aspirations, which includes achieving net zero by 2050.
"We receive a number of permit requests for road closures and we have to make sure that they are scheduled appropriately to minimise disruption on Medway's roads to keep traffic moving. When we receive completed requests, we work with the applicants to ensure works can go ahead as quickly as possible."
The council spokesman said South Eastern Power Networks made the applications on behalf UK Power Networks, but these were refused for a number of reasons. They included the wrong type of permit being requested, incorrect co-ordinates being given and missing information for the Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO).
Work got under way to supply more power for new electric vehicle charging stations at Medway Services last August.
Streetworks permits for a significant part of the project were granted last autumn which would have enabled energisation by January 2023. The permits were revoked by the council in September to keep traffic flowing while other important works took place in the local area.
The provider successfully applied for Provisional Advance Authorisation (PAA) Permits on July 6, 2023 and work is now due to start in October.
UKPN’s spokesman said: “At Medway we have completed a significant amount of the work, delivering 3,500m of 4,000m of ducting for cabling. UK Power Networks and Medway Council are working closely and collaboratively to ensure the works are completed as soon as possible.”
She added that UK Power Networks was funding the electricity connection works for this scheme through the Green Recovery initiative. Together with the local authority, it shared the customer’s desire to connect these projects as quickly as possible.