The Environmental Policy and Awareness Officer and the Climate Change and Energy Support Officer presented a report in respect of introducing an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) Strategy including a five year action plan. The policy was designed to assist in the development of the necessary infrastructure in light of the change over to wider use of electric vehicles.
It was explained that officers were seeking delegated authority to allow them to apply for central government grant funding to enable the installation of electric vehicle charging points.
In particular the Council would be seeking funding towards:-
1. On street residential charging point schemes. These would be relevant to streets where home charging of vehicles would not be possible, and instead drivers would require off-street parking facilities with access to charging points.
2. Workplace Charging Schemes. This funding would contribute towards the installation costs of electric vehicle (EV) charging points for employees.
It was noted that the aims of the strategy would also contribute towards improving air quality and the sustainable environment. There would also be links to the Council’s commercialism agenda. Initial areas which could be focussed on included streets with no off street parking, for example terraced housing areas, and provision of charging points to serve the council’s own housing stock.
Officers were mindful of the need for charging points to be compatible in the wider area and a North Worcestershire working group had been set up to promote a consistent approach.
In response to questions from Members officers clarified that:-
· A review of the Council’s own vehicle fleet would be undertaken to find out what changes could be made to transfer to alternative fuels, and the potential costs and timescales.
· No immediate changes to the rules around licenced taxi vehicles were envisaged; however the installation of charging points would provide the infrastructure to support any future moves to encourage taxis to switch to alternative fuels.
· Clean Air Zones were being introduced to large cities such as Birmingham; there were no government plans for smaller conurbations such as Redditch.
· The aim of the strategy was to enable the Council to pursue initiatives using the government grant funding provided for this purpose.
· As this was a new area, there are no recognised models of how tenants would be charged for use of charging points; the solution might be to have an operator as an intermediary.
· At a national level, work was being undertaken to ensure that the grid could cope with the increasing demand that would be placed upon it arising from the transition to EVs.
· The designs of plugs and charging points were becoming more standardised as the technology developed, and officers would ensure that charging points installed were compatible to as wide a spectrum of users as possible.
Members acknowledged the importance of making preparations to establish the infrastructure required for EVs, as this was the way technology was progressing. To this end the report was welcomed and Members were supportive of the work officers were doing to apply for grant funding and install EV charging points.
1. The ULEV strategy and associated action plan attached at Appendix 1 be adopted.
2. The Head of Environmental Services and Head of Community Services have delegated power to act following consultation with the relevant Portfolio Holder, to apply for, accept, and administer (including in partnership with other local authorities) future funding in line with this strategy.