Local authorities ‘leading the charge’ on EV infrastructure provision
A number of local authorities shared their experiences of rolling-out electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in their communities at a PATROL workshop in November.
PATROL (Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London) brought together four local authorities at its workshop, ‘Leading the Charge’, on 10 November, which was also attended by representatives from the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Energy Saving Trust.
Prabhjeet Rai, Policy Advisor at OLEV, opened the workshop and took questions from the audience, emphasising the Government’s firm commitment to supporting the uptake of electric vehicles, particularly to those without access to off-street parking and the convenience of charging a plug-in car at home. This includes £500 million in funding over the next five years to support the rollout of a fast-charging network for EVs, ensuring drivers will never be further than 30 miles for a rapid charging station.
Local authority presentations
Brighton & Hove City Council
The council, working to an ambition for the city to be carbon neutral by 2030, has already installed over 200 charging points across the community. During its presentation, Brighton & Hove emphasised the importance of working with partners and getting the funding and procurement process right, citing its work with local campaign group, Electric Brighton.
Electric Brighton helped the council facilitate an online mapping tool – ‘Hug the Plug’ – to identify demand for EVs and chargers from the public. This identified key metrics, such as the percentage of registrants that already own and drive an electric vehicle, but who are unable to charge a vehicle at home or live more than a mile away from a current charging point.
During its procurement process, the council engaged with both the Energy Saving Trust (see below) and key stakeholders within the council and city (e.g. planning teams, contractors and street lighting contractors) to ensure any funding bid would accurately reflect the true costs and resources required, and be appropriate to meet the needs of the community and the 2030 objective.
Energy Saving Trust: Local Government Support Programme
|The Local Government Support Programme, funded by the Department for Transport (DfT), provides free, impartial advice and information to English local authorities to help deliver their decarbonising transport and clean air projects.
The programme includes support for the following areas:
Local authorities can apply for funding to cover up to 75% of the costs of installing EV charging points in their community through the On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS), managed by the Trust on behalf of OLEV (DfT).
Further information on the programme and contact information can be found here>>.
Devon County Council
The council has formed a partnership with two companies, Zapinamo and Gamma Solutions, to provide an alternative to lamp post charging across the community. Instead, 150 low-power, low-energy storage electric car charging points (‘StreetHUBZ’ units) are being installed on streets in Exeter.
The project follows a successful bid to Innovate UK, coordinated by Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways Management and PATROL Joint Committee Chair.
The presentation highlighted the importance of site design and location for charging infrastructure, whether this be on-street or in car parks, with a particular focus on the positioning of supply points, batteries and charging heads.
Durham County Council
The council has launched an 18-month community led project to rollout ~100 EV charging points across County Durham in November 2020 in car parks, rather than on streets.
Preliminary research by the council showed that 40% of housing in the county is terraced, without a driveway or garage in which to install a charging point, and there would be costs and safety issues associated with using street lighting columns on streets outside houses to install charging infrastructure. Crucially, the council’s research also showed that over 70% of respondents in the community would be happy to walk at least five minutes from their home to secure a charging point.The council has already identified a number of possible car park locations where the new community EV charging points could be located, including parish church car parks, leisure centres and libraries, as well as Masonic halls, which are used infrequently throughout the week. Additionally, the council has access to a searchable database through its partner, indicating the potential power of the planned charging points.
Oxfordshire County Council
The council presented its ‘Park and Charge Oxfordshire’ programme, which is – like Durham – aimed at installing EV charging points across up to 35 public car parks through the county. Residents, businesses and visitors will be able to charge their cars in the car parks instead of at home, helping to serve the energy needs of the estimated 25,000 electric vehicles that will be active in the county by 2025.
Work has already started to convert bays at one of the main car parks in the town of Bicester through the scheme, which is being delivered with a consortium of partners, including Cherwell District Council and the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford.
‘Local authorities have a key role to play increasing public confidence in the availability of charging infrastructure. PATROL is delighted that a number of them came together to share their experiences of different approaches and solutions.’
Councillor Stuart Hughes,
Cabinet Member for Highways Management, Devon County Council
PATROL Joint Committee Chair