New fund aims to drive up Scotland’s network of electric vehicle charge points

The launch this week of a fund to drive sustainable travel in Scotland’s tourism industry aims to rev up the country’s network of electric vehicle (EV) charge points. The new Electric Vehicle Charge Point Tourism Recovery Fund will enable tourism businesses to apply for funding to support the installation of EV charge points on their premises, improving access across the country and encouraging responsible tourism practices.

The new £325k fund will support the installation of 100 charge points by providing businesses with up to 75% of installation costs. It is being administered by Energy Saving Trust on behalf of VisitScotland and the Scottish Government, and is open to all tourism businesses classed as SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).

The new fund is part of the Destination Net Zero programme, which aims to support businesses and destinations as they transition to a future of Net Zero emissions. The programme is being delivered on behalf of the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) by Scottish Enterprise (SE), VisitScotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE) and partners.

Electric vehicles, which are becoming increasingly popular due to their lower running costs, are a crucial step in decarbonising the transport system, improving air quality, and contributing to Scotland’s climate target of achieving Net Zero emissions by 2045. The number of new electric vehicles in the UK has increased significantly in recent years. As of March, 22.2% of new vehicles were electric, bringing the number of electric vehicles on the road to more than 700,000. While 72% of Scotland residents currently use petrol/diesel cars when taking breaks and holidays in this country, VisitScotland research revealed that 43% are interested in changing to electric/hybrid “within the next few years”. In addition to the vehicle prices, fears about insufficiency of charging points is the main obstacle to car-owners ‘going electric’ sooner. The UK currently has more than 50,000 EV charge points, in 18,000 locations, with 10% in Scotland which has the highest number of public charge points by population.

VisitScotland is keen to encourage businesses in areas where EV charge points are limited to apply to the Electric Vehicle Charge Point Tourism Recovery Fund, which will provide a one-off payment to tourism businesses towards the installation of an EV charge point. As limited funding is available, allocations will be made to applicants meeting the criteria on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will close on 8 September (or sooner if all the funding is allocated before this date).

VisitScotland Director of Industry & Destination Development, and STERG Chair, Rob Dickson, said: “Tackling climate change is the biggest challenge facing Scottish tourism now and in the future, and we want to inspire future generations to say that Scottish tourism led the way and made a difference. This fund will enable businesses to position sustainability at the heart of their recovery and ensure their offering will make it easier for visitors to make environmentally-conscious travel decisions. By working together, we can help Scotland become a world-class destination, and the best destination for responsible tourism. Taking action on climate change will not only reduce costs and build resilience, but it will meet the increasing consumer demand for responsible and sustainably focused businesses.”

Details on the Electric Vehicle Charge Point Tourism Recovery Fund, including criteria guidance and details of how to apply, can be found here.