WEST Berkshire is one of the best places for drivers of electric vehicles (EVs), boasting more public charging points than many. 

The district ranks 29th out of 384 local authorities in the UK for number of charging points per population. 

There are 78 public charging points, or 49 per 100,000 people, according to the Department for Transport. Of these 78, 28 are rapid charging points — rated at 43 kilowatts or above.

The rate per population is higher than all other local authority areas in Berkshire, and all the areas that neighbour West Berkshire. Reading only has 37 charging points, or 23 per 100,000 people. 

Read more: Woman threatened by bailiffs for unpaid parking ticket after abandoning car in heavy snow

Councillor Steve Masters (Geen, Speen), the Green party parliamentary candidate for Newbury, said: “While the headline numbers are positive, the fact remains that little or no consultation was carried out with residents across Newbury. 

“If the people of West Berkshire are to change their travel habits the council needs to invest in sustainable and affordable alternatives. The Conservatives seem unable to grasp that their continuing cuts to rural bus services not only force people into cars. 

“These cuts also adversely affect health and well-being, increase social isolation, and worsen congestion on our over-burdened roads. The West Berkshire Green party is calling for investment that will improve the lives of people across the district.”

Read more: Losing Aldi for new flats a ‘major step back for the area’

West Berkshire has far fewer cars than five years ago. According to the Department for Transport, there are 25,354 cars in the district, 46 per cent less than in 2014. 

Cllr Adrian Abbs (Lib Dem, Wash Common) said: “I think we need 10,000 charging points. 78 is so far off the mark, it’s almost inconsequential at the moment. 

“They didn’t make the areas outside the charging points (specifically) for electric vehicles, so nobody can actually use them. It’s great they did it but unfortunate they didn’t think it through. 

“I really hope the administration do not pat themselves on the back here, but rather say how they are going to make the infrastructure needed available to support EVs at a level that will actually make a difference.”

Charging points can have more than one connector, and so can charge more than one vehicle at a time. 

Cllr Richard Somner (Con, Tilehurst South & Holybrook), the lead member for transport, said: "It's great to see West Berkshire recognised in terms of the charging infrastructure being developed across the district and it can only have a positive impact on EV use locally.

"The infrastructure currently in place is the result of work both by the private and public sector. At WBC, we are working hard to do our bit to expand the network.

"Our planning team are working with developers to ensure charging points are included in all new houses built, and we've also been installing on-street charging points in Newbury as part of a pilot project we're currently running."

David Lister, leader of Thatcham Town Council, said: "From the available data, it’s apparent that all the district council-supported charging points are centred in Newbury and not a single public charging point exists for Thatcham.

"This administration needs to get a grip. Appropriate infrastructure needs to be distributed across the district, particularly to towns and commuter hubs, in order to begin the serious business of addressing the climate emergency.”

This article was edited at 10:28 on Nov 12, to include a comment from Cllr Richard Somner.