A NEW electric vehicle charging hub, a first of its kind in Wales, is soon to be opened in Cross Hands.
The superfast charging hub is located off the A48 and will provide four 50KW rapid chargers and one 150KW super rapid charger.
The chargers are supported by photovoltaic cells which will provide a source of clean energy and help reduce draw from the national grid.
The project is funded through the Welsh Government’s Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle Fund.
This latest scheme is part of Carmarthenshire County Council’s ongoing efforts to support sustainability as it works towards becoming a net zero carbon local authority by 2030.
The council has already installed 28 fast charging points across the county with a further 15 being added by the end of March next year.
Last week the council launched a new campaign Prosiect Zero Sir Gâr to coincide with COP26 – a global summit for climate action – which shines a spotlight on efforts being made to become carbon neutral.
Investing in infrastructure to support sustainable travel is just one of the initiatives the council has underway to support its efforts to tackle climate change.
The council intends to build on its work to date, ten years ago the council became the first local authority in Wales to introduce electric pool car vehicles for staff to use.
Six years ago the current fleet of refuse and gritter lorries were renewed and the council procured Euro VI vehicles with reduced emissions technology which were the most advanced at the time.
As these vehicles fall due for replacement the council is trialling electric powered bin lorries for future use. Changes have also been made to refuse collection routes to reduce vehicle mileage.
Next year, working in partnership with the Wales Government and Transport for Wales, the council hopes to introduce electric buses on the Traws Cymru Carmarthen to Aberystwyth bus route.
Some smaller scale projects have also been developed to support more sustainable travel including Carmarthen Bus Station which has a fully operational Bike Hire Dock with eight folding bikes. Two further locations will be operational before Christmas at Burry Port and Llanelli.
The council has also recently installed eight eBike charging locations at Carmarthen Leisure Centre, Amman Valley Leisure Centre, Llandovery Leisure Centre, Pembrey Country Park, Eastgate and the Beacon in Llanelli, Pendine Trip Attractor and St Catherine’s Walk with facilities to securely store bikes. These will be available shortly.
Five Taxi eBikes for children with limited mobility have also been installed in primary schools across the county and 12 eCargo Bikes will soon be available free of charge to businesses across the county.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Hazel Evans, said: “The number of electric vehicles on our roads is increasing year on year and we need to ensure that drivers have access that is convenient and reliable. We remain committed to supporting the development of high quality, reliable EV infrastructure to the residents and visitors of Carmarthenshire and have recently produced an EV Charging Infrastructure Strategy that will allow us to plan and set targets for the next 10 years.”
Cllr Evans added that the council is continuing to pull out all the stops to progressing its commitment to sustainable travel.
“We are working closely with partners and Welsh Government to identify new areas where extra provision will prove beneficial, not just along the strategic road network, but also inclusive of destination charging and for specific initiatives such as the ‘Ten Towns’. Our eBikes are intended to support more sustainable travel in our town centres, as well as reducing carbon emissions and improving the air quality of town centres this will contribute to improved road safety and a reduction in vehicular traffic. And we are already making better use of out of technology by allowing staff to work from home and meet online to reduce the need for travel.”
Cllr Ann Davies, Cabinet Member for climate change said investing in sustainable travel plays a significant part in the authority’s efforts to tackle climate change. She said: “We have to look at our whole approach, so for electric vehicle use to grow, the infrastructure needs to be in place. We have achieved so much already but recognise that we have much more to do – that’s why we have launched Prosiect Zero Sir Gâr to galvanise our efforts and ensure everyone plays a part in helping us achieve net carbon zero.”