Cllr Joe Flaherty is calling on Longford Council to address an anomaly where it will soon be the only county outside Dublin city, which charges parking charges, whilst electric car owners, are recharging their vehicles.
From September, Limerick City Council will no longer impose parking fees on electric vehicle users when they are charging their cars up to a maximum of four hours. Said Cllr Flaherty: “That means that Longford will be the only Council outside of Dublin City centre to impose parking fees and not promote the current government’s environmental policy.”
Cllr Flaherty said there are three charge points in the town with one on Church St and another two on the Market Sq. He said: “At the moment, electric car owners technically have to pay their parking charges whilst they recharge their car but I do appreciate that the local traffic wardens are correctly using their discretion. Its an anomaly that simply needs to be cleared up.”
He added: “We are all well aware of the benefits of electric vehicles and in line with the government’s aim of encouraging the electrification of transport, it is important that we as a local authority are on point with stated national policy.”
The use of the electric vehicles is being widely supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland<redir.aspx?REF=UKLc5PLV5c1Ml9f-PKX14DvR8hbHW7fk60V7i3LEGatZmrd9KfbVCAFodHRwczovL3d3dy5pcmlzaHRpbWVzLmNvbS9uZXdz> (SEAI). According to Cllr Flaherty there were 3,800 electric vehicles (EVs) on Irish roads by the end of 2017 but registrations of new and imported EVs are currently up by 40% compared to same period last year. He also highlighted grants for motorists or businesses who might be thinking of going electric and suggested a visit to the very informative www.DrivingElectric.ie<redir.aspx?REF=JJGAEa0LexSej8JU51Zz17U6kppKtxOurT2WjJO5XYlZmrd9KfbVCAFodHRwOi8vd3d3LkRyaXZpbmdFbGVjdHJpYy5pZS8.>.
Cllr Flaherty said: “At present, electric vehicles make up less than 1% of the vehicle fleet in Ireland but there is a marked shift in this direction. I appreciate that the local wardens have been exercising discretion but we need to clear up any ambiguity and if that means addressing the town’s parking bye-laws then that’s the route to go.”