£21m spend needed for Mid and East Antrim Council to ‘decarbonise’ fleet

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council would have to spend almost £21m to replace its 140-strong fleet with hydrogen powered vehicles.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 5:00 pm

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s Direct Services Committee earlier this week, Operations director Philip Thompson told councillors that an alternative low emission vehicle for a third of the council’s £9m fleet is not available.

Currently, the authority has four electric vehicles in operation.

“We have been trying to decarbonise our fleet. We have a number of electric vehicles,” said Mr Thompson.

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Ecars (stock image).

The Department for Infrastructure has been seeking the council’s view on the decarbonisation of transport.

The council believes that the hydrogen sector is the fastest growing energy sector and is working to “position the borough at the forefront of the hydrogen economy”.

Braid DUP Cllr Beth Adger highlighted concerns over the number of charging points for electric vehicles in the borough.

“We should be pushing to get a lot more of these facilities,” she said.

DUP Alderman John Carson said: “There are very few around Ballymena.”

He went on to say that he would be “very much in favour” of charging points being provided on council property.

Larne Lough Alliance Cllr Danny Donnelly noted: “There are very few electric charging points in Larne. Half the time, they are broken or in use. If there is no infrastructure in place, people will not buy these cars.”

ESB ecars took over the operation and maintenance of electric car infrastructure in Northern Ireland in 2015.  There are 300 charge points and 17 rapid charge points.  At present, users get the electricity free.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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Click here to read: Customers installing electric vehicle chargers asked to notify NIE Networks

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