Council Could Spend £4m On Electric Vehicle Scheme
The project is being included in the Council’s budget plans for the next three years, which councillors will be asked to approve at the Full Council meeting next week.
ScillyToday understands the multi-million pound plan, part of a £12m European Regional Development Fund bid with Japanese multinational Hitachi, includes a vehicle hiring and sharing scheme and electric vehicle charging points.
It will also pay for more street lighting around St Mary’s, powered by solar energy.
The Council says it wants to spend £750,000 in the next financial year on the project, followed by £2.25m in 2017/18 and £1m the following year, all funded from grants.
But ScillyToday spoke with two councillors who were unaware of the £4m proposal.
We’ve also been unable to find any reference to the electric vehicle plan being discussed by a Council committee.
Council Chief Executive Theo Leijser has stated that he’s keen on the wider adoption of electric vehicles on the islands.
He told his first public meeting after taking on the role in February 2014 that he’d “absolutely love” to ban cars from Scilly, allowing only some electric vehicles, as well as taxis, buses and emergency vehicles.
Theo said they’d done that on the Friesian Islands in his native Netherlands.
And in November 2014, the Council announced its goal of having electric cars making up two-fifths of vehicles in Scilly.
The Ash Futures Economic Strategy, commissioned by the Council and published in 2014, also included many of these ideas.
Councillors were assured over the summer that they would be given the chance to debate any proposals before they’re adopted as policy.
That has not happened yet.
The plan for electric vehicles comes at a time when many social services in Scilly, including Park House and leisure facilities, are under increasing financial pressure.
Last month members agreed an options report, which includes the possibility of closing the residential care home to save cash, raising fees and reducing staff numbers.
Although it is expected that grant money will be secured for the project, some recent schemes run by the Economic Development Team, led by Senior Manager for Strategic Development Diana Mompoloki, have experienced considerable overspends.
The Porthcressa and Airport Redevelopment projects both cost more than the grant money allocated.
Members at Tuesday’s Full Council meeting will be asked to approve the inclusion of the electric vehicle scheme in the Council’s capital spending plans for next year.