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Gloucestershire Business News

An April fuel change on the Fosse Way?

A fuel station in a Cotswold tourism hotspot is hoping planners approve its bid to add an EV charging rank alongside its petrol and diesel pumps.

Adjacent to Bourton-on-the-Water, the A429's Fosseway Station bid is an early runner in a potential stampede as petrol and diesel retailers capitalise on the fast-rising demand from Britain's growing EV driving sector. 

In step with declining sales of internal-combustion-engined (ICE) vehicles, March auto sales data for the UK showed more than one in every three new vehicles sold was battery-powered.

The station on the Fosse Way at Lower Slaughter is close to the tourism hotspot of Bourton-on-the-Water and funding for the project is part of a £40m investment strategy from Motor Fuel Group (MFG) which is the UK's largest independent forecourt operator and represents more than 900 sites.

Despite being marketed as 'the Venice of the Cotswolds', the majority of visits to Bourton are by car and coach, with regular social media posts describing congestion as 'bedlam' and a car parking 'nightmare'.

Given our love affair with private transport, MFG argues that the current shortfall in EV charging points makes such bids vital for the government's targets of a 28% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2035 and net zero by 2050.

A spokesman for MFG said: "Although difficult to know precisely how much charging will be needed, forecasts suggest that at least 280 to 480,000 public charge points will be needed by 2030 - more than 10 times the current number (around 25,000).

MFG is looking to roll-out an extensive supply of EV charging facilities at existing and new service stations across the UK, it says, "to diversity their existing offer, with the aspiration to make it as easy to charge your vehicle as re-fuelling with petrol or diesel".

As well as adding EV points, stations elsewhere are going the whole EV hog: in Fulham, Shell converted a former fuel forecourt in 2022 to an EV-only facility, with nine charging points, a coffee shop, a small supermarket and free WiFi.

Cotswold planning officials have indicated that the bid will have "no significant environmental effects" for the station in the context of its AONB location. The bid will allow simultaneous charging for four vehicles and include a canopy shelter over the charging points.

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