In 2019, transport was responsible for 42% of carbon emissions within Somerset, significantly higher than the total UK emissions from transport (28%). The main source of emissions within this sector is the use of petrol and diesel fuel in cars, van and lorries. At the same time, it was recognised that Somerset is a very rural county with lots of small dispersed settlements, resulting in people being dependent on cars for travel.
The Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy recognised there is a need for an urgent and radical shift away from conventional petrol and diesel vehicles to electric and low emission vehicles to cut emissions and air pollution from transport. Under this Strategy a team was therefore set up to develop a specific County wide EV Strategy. The Strategy was produced and published in November 2020, and was formally approved by SSDC in May 2021. The Strategy sets out an approach for the Somerset local authorities to help deliver an electric vehicle charging network for Somerset, which will enable its communities and visitors to shift towards EV use.
South Somerset also has its own Environment Strategy which includes ambitious targets to help the district move towards carbon neutrality. Part of that work is also focused around facilitating a move away from fossil fuelled vehicles. This county EV Strategy aligns well and compliments work already underway within the district. The Environment team have been working with partners to progress this action over the last 12 months.
Since April 2020 three rapid EV chargers have been installed at SSDC car parks in Wincanton, Ilchester and Ilminster.
We are also continuing to work with the Devon Low Carbon Energy and Technology Innovator (DELETTI) EV charging project to deliver a further 25 charging sites for electric vehicles across our district. The tender for the delivery of the DELETTI project has recently been won by Scottish Power Energy Retail Ltd.
With the supplier in place, we propose to install charging points at a minimum of 25 locations across our estates, with two connectors at each. Works are due to start in Summer 2021 and be completed by the end of the year.
Future phases could expand this network still further in a range of locations based on feedback from our communities and usage data from the initial sites.
We estimate that once completed, this EV Charger installation programme will prevent more than 300 tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere every year.
We are continually exploring switching our fleets to electric, as older vehicles are stood down, and have already switched our street cleaning vehicle to a Goupil.