The Scottish Government’s key climate target to install 30,000 electric car-charging stations could be missed by 12 years, analysis by the Tories has suggested.
Scottish ministers have been urged to take a leaf out of the Prime Minister’s book on net-zero targets after Rishi Sunak delayed a ban on new petrol and diesel cars until 2035.
Following Sunak’s announcement last week, First Minister Humza Yousaf branded the five-year delay “unforgivable”, as he warned the UK Government’s announcement would put Scotland’s target for net zero by 2045 in jeopardy.
It comes as figures from ChargePlace Scotland, the charging network owned by the Scottish Government, showed 169 chargers had been added between October 2022 and August 2023.
Meanwhile, separate figures released by the Scottish Government earlier this year said there were almost 4,000 charging stations across Scotland as of June 2023.
Ministers have previously acknowledged that 30,000 will be needed to meet the anticipated increase in demand for electric vehicle charging points.
But analysis from the Scottish Tories suggests the Scottish Government is “miles off” the target, with around 1,900 charging points installed between January 2022 and 2023.
Based on these figures, the Tories have suggested it could take until 2042 – 12 years after the deadline – for ministers to reach 30,000.
Douglas Lumsden, the party’s energy and transport spokesman, said: “These eye-opening statistics lay bare the fact that this SNP/Green Government are miles off delivering electric charging points needed to meet demand across Scotland.
“It is simply pitiful that fewer than 200 charging points were added to the network over a spell of 10 months. Progress is going at a snail’s pace and that is all too typical of the SNP/Green Government’s woeful record on environmental targets.
“They have failed to meet their emission reduction targets in eight out of the last 12 years and only this week they have had to admit they’ve breached climate laws.
“Ministers need to urgently up their game. Many Scots should be commended for doing their bit to switch to electric vehicles but in vast swathes of the country – particularly in rural Scotland – the infrastructure simply is not in place to allow them to do so.
“The Prime Minister’s sensible and pragmatic announcements in relation to net zero must make SNP/Green ministers think again. They need to take a similar common sense approach if they are to ever hit their climate targets and ensure people are on side.
“Over 4,000 charging points need to be installed every year if this target is to be met by 2030. At current pace, the SNP/Green Government will miss this by at least a whopping 12 years, despite Scotland’s aim to achieve net zero by 2045.”
A Transport Scotland spokesperson responded: “The Scottish Government is currently assessing the implications of the UK Government’s decision to backtrack on their commitment to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.
“Thanks to the Scottish Government’s investment of £65m since 2011 in the development of the ChargePlace Scotland (CPS) network, and increasing commercial investment now taking place across the country, Scotland has the greatest number of rapid or ultra-rapid charge points per head of population, outside of London.
“There are variations in public charge point distribution across Scotland’s local authorities, and there are many reasons for this, including the availability of private off-street charging opportunities, including home and workplace charge points.
“In addition to funding over 2,600 charge points on the public CPS network, the Scottish Government has increased charging capacity across Scotland by also funding the installation of over 20,000 home and workplace charge points. Last year ministers also introduced legislation requiring car parks of new buildings to install charge points.
“To meet Scotland’s statutory climate change targets, the pace and scale of investment in the public network will need to increase over the coming years and it will be unsustainable for the public sector to deliver this alone.
“Our EV Infrastructure Fund aims to leverage £60m of public and private investment to increase the size of the network to 6,000 charge points by 2026. The ChargePlace Scotland network provides a strong foundation to support this, and will be an integral part of a transition towards a public charging network that is largely financed and delivered by the private sector.
“This is in line with our EV Vision published in June this year that sets out what an ideal public charging offer for cars and vans should look like.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country