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Background ripples of recovery.

Byline: KEVAN CARRICK

RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) highlights the important role that infrastructure delivery plays in providing a stimulus during an economic downturn.

Additional funding for infrastructure both delivers much-needed projects and helps to retain skilled workers in the construction s that it will produce The Leaf -the world''s first mass-produced zero emission car -at Suns derland is great news not just for the 4,000 workers but also for the region in general.

In terms of infrastructure, it has many implications and much investment has already been promised for developments at Nissan, for the battery manufacturing plant and for the supply chain companies that will be required. It has also firmly cemented the need for electric car charging points into our public infrasts s ructure psyche.

While the vehicles can be charged at home or the office from an ordinary 240 volt plug socket, the batteries currently have a limited range of about 70 to 100 miles.

There are also many challenges to face -what s s s if you live on top of a tower block and work at a remote site? So, to provide the driving public with the confidence they need to adopt electric car technology, the country needs thousands of high speed public charging points.

The race is now on to have these in place when the new electric vehicles are ready to roll off the production line.

The Government has designated three 'Plugged-in Places'' where it is funding new infrastructure - Milton Keynes, London and the North East.

Regional development agency One North East, in conjunction with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, has announced that almost pounds 8m will be spent on a roll out of 1,300 charging points across the region over the next three years.

This has been supported by more than 40 regional organisations from both the public and private sector, who have committed more than pounds 1m for charging points to be installed at their premises.

Logically, it makes sound economic sense for all - especially supermarkets, hotels and town centres - because without this vital piece of infrastructure they could be cutting off a sizeable chunk of their future customers.

Clearly, there is no sense in using fossil fuels to provide the energy for ultra low carbon vehicles which brings us to another infrastructure issue.

How can the region make sure that everyone has the option to use green energy to fuel their electric cars -especially in a country where 'localism'' is on the march? Kevan Carrick is RICS North East regional policy spokesman and partner at JK Property Consultants
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 21, 2010
Words:432
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