DORSET could be home to a new £10 million ‘eco hub’ for superfast electric vehicle (EV) charging.
The EV charging project, dubbed the Blandford Hill Eco Hub, would involve a three-to-six-month construction at a site currently used for arable farming on the A354 north-east of Winterborne Whitechurch.
The project, which would also feature a solar farm and battery storage area, is being spearheaded by Natuarlis – a joint venture between renewable energy companies REG Power Management and Falck Renewables.
The project would play a role in tackling the climate emergency and provide six part-time jobs, according to project development director Matt Partridge.
Mr Partridge said: “Electric cars have a vital role to play in the transition towards a more sustainable, low-carbon society, particularly where they can be powered by clean energy.
“The Blandford Hill Eco Hub combines modern electric vehicle charging with clean energy from a new solar farm, and batteries to store power and balance supply and demand.
“The site is well suited to this development and would plug a regional gap in charging infrastructure.
“A five-fold increase in the rate of installation of chargers will be required to allow the rapid roll-out of electric driving.
“The sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned in less than nine years’ time.
“At the eco hub, around 12 electric vehicles at a time would be charged with green electricity, generated on-site by the proposed solar farm and stored in batteries when necessary.
Mr Partridge said the investment would be ‘around £10 million’ and construction would take between ‘three to six months’ and provide jobs – ‘estimate up to six part-time positions’.
The project would also provide support of the rural economy and local jobs, during the construction and decommissioning stages alongside employment of staff to provide the range of services offered at the eco hub including shop and café staff and groundsmen and cleaners for the seating and rest areas.
The development is in its early stages and Naturalis has now started the public consultation process.
The plans will be presented for public consultation at an online consultation event on Thursday, March 4 between 5.30pm and 7pm.
A dedicated project website www.blandfordhillecohub.co.uk has been launched where a recording of the event will be uploaded if people are unable to attend at that time. Visit the website for more information.