Rumours that the Council of the Isles of Scilly hopes to spend £4m on electric vehicles and charging points for locals have been dismissed by the Vice Chairman.

In an interview for Scilly Now & Then magazine, Councillor Steve Sims, who is deputising as lead member for Smart Islands for Cllr Richard McCarthy, said that there seems to be considerable misunderstanding regarding the entire Smart Islands Project.


The Smart Islands Partnership was approved at a meeting of Full Council in May, following on from a Strategic Economic Plan composed by Ash Futures Ltd in partnership with Town planning specialists Three Dragons Ltd.


The plan was released under the title of Island Futures and suggested that Scilly could become a test bed for smart energy systems.


Asked to elaborate on the Smart Island Project and clarify how much it will cost the local taxpayer, Cllr Sims replied: "Smart Islands is basically a partnership the Council has formed with the Duchy of Cornwall, Tresco Estate, the Islands' Partnership and Hitachi Europe Ltd to deliver a programme of innovation and investment into energy, transport and public infrastructure on the islands.


"The programme is designed to contribute meaningfully to issues of energy security, fuel poverty, waste disposal and water management that affect communities across the UK and beyond. The projects that make up the programme are being delivered through a partnership comprising both public and private sector organisations.


"At the end of the project, if it goes to plan, our electricity will cost 40% less, our waste management will be affordable and green and our housing bottlenecks will be gone.


"The Council’s financial input into the Smart Islands project will be in the region of £200,000 to put PV panels on its social housing stock."


Cllr Sims said he had no idea where the figure of £4m for electric vehicles had come from, adding: "The council is only responsible for funding it’s part of the programme, just as the other partners are responsible for funding their part of the programme.


"With regard to the involvement of electric vehicles in the scheme, they will help with the management of the smart grid because they can store energy when plugged in. The electricity could then be drawn from the batteries into the grid when the load is high but it’s a very small part of the big picture."


The full interview with Scilly Now & Then will appear in issue 79 later this month and a public consultation on the Smart Islands Project is planned for the near future.

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