Councils should ‘take the lead’ on electric vehicles

A report from the Renewable Energy Association has called on councils to introduce measures that would support the growth of electric vehicles in the UK.

To facilitate this they would like to see an ‘EV Champion,’ who would be a councillor that can be the main contact point for the public and developers who can help navigate the process of charging infrastructure being developed.

Councils can also make the ‘Milton Keynes Promise’ which was the council in Milton Keynes’ pledge to provide an overnight charging facility within a short walk of a new electric car owner’s home.

Other small-scale EV initiatives recommended for councils include:

  • Extra incentives for EVs such as the use of bus lanes, dedicated free parking, and exemption
    from any potential city centre charges.
  • Setting up one-off workshops to spread EV knowledge and promote uptake. This can be done in
    conjunction with private companies to showcase new EVs/new car club/overhead solar panels for EV
    charge points etc.
  • Producing an ‘EV plan’ stating how the LA will aim to improve EV infrastructure and improve EV uptake.
  • Encouraging the use of EV car clubs,
  • Committing to purchasing EVs as part of the council’s transport fleet. The report gives the example of this is in Leeds where the council has added 42 EVs to their fleet which is expected to have fuel savings of around £24,600 a yearand increases ‘the general visibility of EVs.’

Cheryl Gillan MP, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on electric and automated vehicles said: ‘We are living through an era of extraordinary change in the transport sector.

‘The Government is advancing legislation and a suite of research and commercialisation projects with the goal of the UK becoming an international leader in EVs. Developing a charging network is key to achieving this aim. For local authorities, funding is available to develop on-street charging and tax relief in place to help drive EV sales.’

‘This report builds on the tools currently available to local authorities and puts forward a suite of pragmatic, cost-effective policies that can empower them to further develop strategically-located charging infrastructure.’

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, chief executive, Renewable Energy Association said: ‘It is clear that as costs fall and battery ranges improve, the choice to buy an electric car or van will become more commonplace.

‘While the drivers of this historic shift may be global, the impacts will be local and Local Authorities will be on the front lines. The expectation that a reliable, accessible, and affordable charging infrastructure will be in place is, in the eyes of much of the public, the responsibility of local government.’

Alex Hinchcliffe, business development director, Alfa Power (a charge point developer and renewable electricity supplier), said: ‘Local Authorities have a key role in supporting chargepoint deployment in locations such as schools, supermarkets, and on-street for residents.

‘We will continue to work tirelessly on an offering that will also make the smart charging option free to the homeowner.’

Read the report here.

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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