Shropshire Star

Church Stretton leading the charge on electric cars

A town is leading the charge on the green future of motoring as it celebrates its 1,000th powering-up of an electric car.

Mike Walker and Jamie Wrench of Stretton Climate Care (back), with Julie Sumner, manager at the Midcounties Co-operative store, and Mitsubishi Outlander owner David Andrew making the 1,000th charge

But Shropshire is still woefully underrepresented with electric car charging stations, the charity that got Church Stretton's first public point installed has said.

The town boasts Shropshire's only charging station available on a public car park 24 hours a day, as local green group Stretton Climate Care got together with Shropshire Council, Church Stretton Town Council and the Midcounties Co-operative store at Lion Meadow in the town centre.

The car park is council-run, but the charging points are hosted at the Midcounties store that sits next to it, and now those behind the drive to get it installed are celebrating the success of the scheme.

But three years after it went live in June 2014, few others have emerged – and no more on public car parks available around the clock, said Jamie Wrench, vice chairman Church Stretton Climate Care.

The Church Stretton-based environmental charity part-funded the station with aid from a government grant and Midcounties Co-operatives freely supplies its electricity to run the facility, Mr Wrench said.

He said: "We get a regular amount of comments from people saying they come to Stretton because there is a charging point here.

"We've also got a growing fleet of electric cars chosen by local people who can legitimately say they did it first.

"Sadly, our EV charge point remains a rare beast in Shropshire. We hoped – and to be frank, expected – that local and national governments would have developed a comprehensive charging infrastructure by now.

"But they haven't. Instead there's a patchwork of different systems and payment regimes that's frankly even confusing to the nerds among us.

"We continue to live in hope and in the meantime we celebrate 1,000 re-charges and more than six tonnes of carbon dioxide less in our atmosphere thanks to 104 concerned individuals, one little charity and a supermarket chain with a sense of community."

Mike Pickering, community and sustainability manager at Midcounties Co-operative, added: “The success of the charging station in Church Stretton is a great eye-opener to the many ways we can support environmental sustainability.

"With sustainability embedded in our core values, it’s important for us to facilitate members of the community looking to act in more sustainable ways, and encourage this as a way of living.”

An annual electric car day is organised by Stretton Climate Care and will take place on September 16 this year, where the latest models to by various manufacturers come to town and go on display at the car park.

Church Stretton also has a charging point at Burway Garage, but elsewhere in the south of the county there are only a couple more, at Islabikes in Bromfield, near Ludlow, and the Stiperstones Inn at Snailbeach.

There are charging points at supermarket sites in Shrewsbury and Telford for public use, but most others are restricted access.