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Highlands set to benefit from £7m funding for electric vehicles in the north of Scotland

By Federica Stefani

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The Scottish Government is seeking to boost private investment to grow the EV charging network.
The Scottish Government is seeking to boost private investment to grow the EV charging network.

Highland Council is set to be among the beneficiaries of a £7m funding boost from the Scottish Government aiming to support the development of the EV charging network.

More than £6,800,000 has been awarded to a partnership comprising Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Highland Council and Moray Council, with £300,000 separately awarded to Dundee City Council.

The funding aims to encourage greater private investment in the electric vehicle (EV) charging network to help it grow and is particularly focussed on more rural areas of Scotland – which is reflected in the financial awards.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport Fiona Hyslop said: “I’m pleased that the Scottish Government is providing over £7 million in targeted support to attract in further private investment in our publicly accessible electric vehicle charging network.

“The scale of our ambition to decarbonise transport cannot be met alone and I expect that our commitment for approximately 24,000 additional public charge points by 2030 will largely be met by the private sector.

“This can only happen, however, if the conditions exist to support this investment – which is exactly what our Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund is working to achieve and with a particular focus in our rural and island communities.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport Fiona Hyslop
Cabinet Secretary for Transport Fiona Hyslop

“As a direct result of previous investment, per head of population, Scotland has more public EV charge points than any other part of the UK except London. We also benefit from more rapid public EV charge points than any other UK region.

“We have over 5600 currently and we are well on target to have 6000 public EV charge points by 2026, through increasing private sector investment – with the private sector investing between £40 and £55 million in public EV charging in Scotland in 2024 alone.”

The funding will enable local authorities to work with the private sector to continue to grow Scotland’s public EV charging network.

This is achieved through partnership working with the private sector to operate existing EV charge points and deliver new EV charge points.

The benefits for the public will be the introduction of more new and more reliable EV charge points across Scotland – supporting the Scottish Government’s commitment to phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, reducing transport emissions.

Leader of Highland Council, Cllr Raymond Bremner, said: "Highland Council is delighted to be involved in the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund - Pathfinder Project, a groundbreaking initiative in the North of Scotland.

“This project exemplifies the power of collaboration, as we work closely with our neighbouring local authorities to create a comprehensive and accessible EV charging network. Our joint efforts are essential in ensuring a just transition, enhancing Community Wealth, achieving Net Zero targets, and driving Economic Development.

“By addressing the critical need for expanded charging infrastructure, we are removing significant barriers to electric vehicle adoption. This initiative not only reinforces the Highlands' commitment to sustainability but also sets a new standard for regional cooperation.

“Together, we are paving the way for a greener, more equitable, and connected future across the Highlands and beyond."

Vicky Read, CEO of ChargeUK said: “ChargeUK’s members stand ready to deliver the Scottish Government’s vision of a just transition to electric vehicles, through investment in charging infrastructure at pace and scale. The first Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund awards are an important and welcome step in delivering the vision.

“Our members will invest over £6 billion in rolling out EV infrastructure before 2030 to provide affordable and convenient charging for all in every part of the UK.

“Key to achieving that aim is effective partnership with the UK’s governments and local authorities.

“This first tranche of funding is encouraging and we look forward to unlocking further support through this scheme to ensure motorists across Scotland are confident that EV charging infrastructure is not just there for them today but into the future too.”

Jim Savege, Chief Executive of Aberdeenshire Council said on behalf of the North of Scotland Partnership: “The commitment to and journey towards net zero is a significant challenge for us all, and one that requires leadership and activity at scale and pace.

“We are proud to come together as a ground-breaking consortium covering Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, Moray and Highland Council areas with this significant investment in our EV charging infrastructure across our diverse urban and rural communities.

“We are looking for a private sector partner to work with us and co-invest alongside us, a partner who has the same ambition and commitment to net zero, and who has the scale, reach and commitment to work with communities across the North of Scotland as we change our approach to travel and connectivity across the area.”

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