A HIGHWAYS authority overseeing almost 5,600 miles of roads has been warned of the challenge facing England’s largest county over electric vehicle charging points.

As of June this year, while North Yorkshire had just 34 places where ultra low emission vehicles could be charged, Greater London had 3,620, equivalent to 4.1 per 10,000 residents.

North Yorkshire County Council’s transport, economy and environment overview and scrutiny committee will hear that while the number of charging points per resident in Yorkshire was less than half of that in the North-East, the sparsity of the facilities was more pronounced in rural areas, such as Richmondshire and Ryedale.

An officers’ report to the committee states the business case for providing charge points in the more rural parts of the county is weaker due to the demand from electric vehicle owners being less and issues with connections to both an energy source and mobile networks.

Meanwhile, many of the 34 charging points in the county are not open to the public as they are at car dealerships, hotels or holiday cottages. A dozen of the electric charging sites are chargers exclusively for owners of high end electric car range Tesla.

The officers’ report highlights the rapidly increasing demand for the environmentally-friendly vehicles, with 2,893 being licensed in the county last year, up from just 209 five years before. More than 1,500 of those vehicles were in Harrogate and Hambleton districts.

The committee’s former chairman, Councillor Mike Jordan, who flagged up the issue, said it remained unclear how the electrical charging points would be financed.

He said: “If it takes two or three hours to charge a vehicle and land is expensive, who is going to pay to get them in and how are they going to get their money back?”

Councillor Don Mackenzie, the authority’s highways boss, said while numbers of electric car registrations remained relatively low in North Yorkshire, a large amount of infrastructure would need to be created before 2040, when the Government has pledged to end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars.

He said  the council would support “any moves to increase the availability of electric charging points”.