Senedd Member calls for canal charging points to drive electric boats
A Senedd Member has called on the Welsh Government to undertake a review of how to support the implementation of shore-side and canal towpath charging points for electric boats.
Conservative Janet Finch-Saunders raised the issue as Plymouth is set to become the first city in the UK to install a network of shore-side charging facilities for its fleet of electric maritime vessels.
During the past year, the city has also become home to the UK’s first marine electric passenger ferry and an electric water taxi.
“Will the Minister confirm what conversations the Welsh Government has undertaken to review how best to encourage the implementation of shore-side and canal tow-path charging points?” Janet Finch-Saunders asked in the Senedd.
She added that a lack of access to charging infrastructure along our shoreline and towpaths remained a major barrier to growth in what she called an “emerging sector”.
“We know that moving certain heavy goods by water keeps lorries off our roads and helps to reduce our carbon emissions,” she said.
“Our canals and rivers currently host around 600,000 tonnes of freight a year. This number is increasing meaning that the potential for clean maritime transport is something that we should tap into.
“Our canals and riverways are also a most important draw for tourists, helping to encourage active travel, as well as providing visitors with a corridor to connect with our green and open spaces.
“If Wales can be at the forefront of pushing sustainable, electric-based travel along these waterways than the long-term payoff for neighbouring businesses could be considerable.
“It is essential that the Welsh Government does not travel against the current on this. Works undertaken in Plymouth has furthered the city’s reputation as a centre of excellence in clean maritime innovation.
“With a firm rock-bed of research excellence to build on here, implementing a similar plan for the future could really make waves for Wales.”