Council Launches Project To Get Islanders Driving Electric Cars

golf cart 2The Council wants two out of five cars driven on the islands to be electric.

That goal, and their aim to become a major generator of renewable energy within five years, are two of the ambitious targets announced yesterday by the Authority as they look to find a joint venture partner for their new ‘Smart Islands’ project.

The Council says it’s based on their vision of a “fully sustainable island community developing and utilising renewable-energy technologies linked to energy distribution, smarter homes and telehealth.“

They want to reduce household electricity bills by up to 40%, install electric vehicle charging points and provide technology internships for Five Islands School pupils.

They’re advertising their quest for a partner across the EU, and if they find one from outside the UK, the Council say they’ll provide language training for the islands’ children and cultural exchanges.

And it’s hoped that if any inventions arise from the project, it’ll make extra income for the Council.

Reducing the numbers of traditional cars on the islands’ roads is Chief ExecutiveTheo Leisjer’s dream. At his first public meeting back in February, he said he would “absolutely love” to ban cars from Scilly, allowing only some electric vehicles, as well as taxis, buses and emergency vehicles.

This project could mark the first steps towards achieving that goal.

From Radio Scilly

Cllr Gordon Bilsborough on the renewable energy plans

The Ash Futures Economic Strategy, commissioned by the Council and published earlier this year, also included many of these ideas.

However, elected members were assured over the summer that they would be given the chance to debate the report before any goals were adopted as policy.

That hasn’t happened yet.

In a statement sent to Radio Scilly yesterday, Mr Leisjer said the EU-wide call for a partner was a way for the authority to ”test the market.”

He added there was “no pre-determined partner or project and until then this remains an exploratory process.”

But Mr Leisjer says the joint venture approach could take advantage of substantial funding allocated for renewable energy and smart technology in the next round of European programmes.

We asked the Council whether any consultation had taken place with elected members or the public before this announcement.

They didn’t answer that question but we have seen an email sent to Council staff yesterday by Senior Manager for Strategic Development Diana Mompoloki.

She says the diversification has the full support of the Council Chairman Amanda Martin and Vice Chairman Gaz O’Neill, and other councillors will be involved when they need to make a decision.

Diana added that the costs involved are “very small” and will be funded from European money.

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