Birkenhead vet pioneers community EV charging

Veterinary group Animal Trust has signed up with electric vehicle charging network Be.EV to host public EV chargers at its surgery site in Birkenhead.

Animal Trust is a not-for-profit, set up to deliver accessible veterinary care in the community and offer a great working environment for vets. It’s a community interest company and applying for B Corp status.

The group currently has 11 sites, of which three have been identified for a first round of charger installations. Surgeries in Birkenhead, Rhyl and newly-opened Barnsley will see ‘rapid’ chargers go live in their car parks this autumn, with other locations to follow.

The chargers will be open to the public, so visitors, staff and the local community can all benefit from much-needed EV charging infrastructure. It’s the first charging site in Wales for Be.EV, which runs the largest public charging network in Greater Manchester and is expanding rapidly across the North.

Animal Trust founder and CEO Owen Monie said, “I set up Animal Trust because people were being priced out of accessing veterinary care for their pets. We now see people in our communities excluded from switching to electric cars, because they live in terraced houses or flats and can’t charge at home. Hosting public EV chargers is a small thing we can do to help. As it happens, our sites are well suited to it and in the right places to make a difference to local EV charging provision.”

Phil McGunigall, practice manager of Animal Trust in Birkenhead, added, “We anticipate that these new chargers will be very busy. Not only will they make life much easier for people who are travelling a long way with their pets for treatment, but we hope the local community will make use of them too.”

All sites will have at least one charging unit that can serve two bays (Barnsley will have two, serving four bays), each with a rapid and a fast charging side. The fast side typically charges a car over 7 hours, perfect for employees, while the rapid side does the same in 45 minutes, making it ideal for use by visitors to the surgery or for top-ups by local drivers. The charging facilities at each site are designed to be scalable as demand increases.

Uniquely, the chargers come with a green makeover of the whole site. Landscaping and planting schemes featuring native wildflowers are part of the designs delivered by Be.EV.

(L-R) John MacBrayne, Be.EV, Animal Trust Practice Manager Phil McGunigall, Asif Ghafoor, Be.EV founder and CEO, and Craig Stone, Animal Trust Facilities Manager.

Janet Mitchell, vet and sustainability lead at Animal Trust, said, “As a business, we want to be as sustainable as we can be. Everybody here has a social heart and wants to make a real difference. What we’ve planned with Be.EV will enable staff to switch to EVs and means we can start thinking about electrifying our ambulances too.

“But it’s the opportunity to give something back to our neighbourhoods that really excites us. We’ve been thinking for a long time about how we can make our sites greener and more attractive, and reintroduce nature to often quite industrial looking areas. The Be.EV team are building us little parks around the chargers – we can’t wait for our neighbours to see it!”

Be.EV works with local authorities, the wider public sector and private business to deliver public EV charging in the community. The team builds concentrated regional public charging networks that work for local drivers – encouraging uptake and ensuring fair access.

Main image: (L-R) John MacBrayne from Be.EV, Animal Trust Facilities Manager Craig Stone, student nurse Kim Riley with Barney, Animal Trust Practice Manager Phil McGunigall, and Asif Ghafoor, Be.EV founder and CEO

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