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Brent to ramp-up EV charging infrastructure

Brent council has agreed proposals to install on-street and rapid charging points for electric vehicles, as part of its plan to improve air quality.

The council’s Cabinet approved the proposals to install new charging infrastructure on Tuesday (15 January), which will see up to 50 additional charge points installed in lamp columns and several rapid charge points installed in the borough by the end of the 2018-19 financial year.

Brent council has approved plans for the installation of EV charging points across the borough

Under the plans, Brent intends to use funding available through the Go Ultra Low City Scheme (GULCS) to identify locations where rapid charging points could be installed, predominantly for use by taxi and private hire vehicle operators.

The council and Transport for London will work to identify five suitable sites for the location of the rapid charging points, following which the local authority will carry out a tender to select a suitable operator to install, maintain and operate the sites.

It is intended that the selected contractor will pay for the installation and operation of the rapid charging points, which are expected to be installed later this year.

On-street charging

Documents published ahead of Tuesday’s meeting indicate that the provision of on-street charging points for use by residents will be procured separately – with £150,000 having been secured through the GULCS to cover around 75% of the capital cost of the project.

This funding will be spent on the purchase and installation of charge points in street lamp columns, with council officers currently working to identify suitable sites where the points could be located based on demand. Many of these are likely to be in the Queens Park, Kensal Green and Kilburn wards, the council has noted.

A supplier for the installation and management of the charge points will be found through procurement framework with London Councils, to which Brent is a signatory. This is expected to deliver around 50 charge points by July 2018, with further potential locations to be added in 2019.

The council will be funding the installation of charging points in street lamp columns to provide access to EV charging for residents

Procurement of new charging infrastructure will run separately to existing work by BluePointLondon Ltd to install charging points across the borough, which are a part of the Source London network. BluePoint and the council entered into a contract in 2016 to install charging points throughout the borough, with 30 active charge pints having been developed at around 24 locations.

Commenting on the measure Councillor Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council Cabinet Member responsible for transport, said: “Improving our air quality is a top priority and encouraging more car users to switch to electric vehicles is part of our commitment to reduce air pollution and create a greener, more sustainable future for everyone in Brent. To support this, and to meet the  growing demand for charging facilities from a rising number of electric vehicles in Brent, I’m really pleased that we’re improving the infrastructure throughout the borough.

“This substantial investment in electric charging points will make a real difference in Brent, making electric vehicles an easier and more practical option for residents and visitors.”

Air Quality Plan

Boosting the uptake of electric vehicles was among the steps agreed in Brent’s Air Quality Action Plan, approved in November 2016, which sets out a five year framework for tackling emissions in the north west London borough.

The plan has come in for criticism from a local campaign group, Clean Air for Brent (CAfB), which has claimed that it contains does not contain “adequate solutions, and fails to effectively tackle the worst pollution hotspots and routes.”

CAfB has called for measures including establishment of a clean air zone in the borough, as well as focused action through the introduction of ‘Low Emission Neighbourhoods’.

Fiona Mulaisho, chair of CAfB said: “In agreeing this toothless plan, Brent council has missed another opportunity to step up its game, and promise much needed bold actions to its residents. We appreciate they are under severe financial constraints, but residents’ health must be pushed far higher up their priority list.”

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