Camden needs to take action on the provision of electric vehicle charge points
14 September, 2017
• THERE’S something in the air in Camden – and it stinks.
No matter where you go in the borough air pollution is a constant problem: driven by traffic that ensnares our roads from Fitzjohns Avenue to Euston Road.
One of the biggest things local authorities can do to reduce pollution is to assist in the transition from petrol or diesel vehicles to electric. The government has pledged to end sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles in 2040, but Camden looks ill-placed to hit this deadline.
Most homes in the borough don’t have garages or drives, so most people would need public charge points to charge an electric car. But across Camden, there are just 28 of these points: one for every 10,000 residents!
Time and again residents tell me that they would buy an electric car if there were some place to charge it.
Fortunately, the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles funds 75 per cent of the cost of new public electric vehicle charge points. The government has given £13million to the Mayor of London to award in these grants: enough to deploy thousands of charge points across the capital each year.
Sadly Camden has bid for less than 1 per cent of the funds available, enough to install just 33 more charge points, compared with more than 200 that less-populous, Conservative-run Richmond-upon-Thames is installing with the funds.
Camden should be far more ambitious, by fitting charge points in the thousands of lamp-posts across the borough – as in Richmond – so they’re cheaper to deploy, don’t take up pavement space, and are virtually invisible to non-users of electric cars.
With the 75 per cent government grant, these charge points cost just £250 to install, meaning Camden could deploy hundreds or thousands across our residential streets for a relatively low cost and really help reduce pollution.
Instead of half-measures Camden should radically expand its network of charge points and make it possible for residents to make the step – as so many want to – of buying an electric vehicle and reducing pollution for everyone. Camden should be leading the way in cleaning our air, not lagging behind.
CLLR OLIVER COOPER
Conservative, Hampstead Town