Councillors have unanimously agreed a radical programme to install more than 700 new charging points on lampposts. The move will boost air quality and turn Wandsworth into a borough where electric cars are the ‘norm, not the exception.’
Members of the community services scrutiny committee on Tuesday also voted through plans for an eco-friendly electric car club to operate in the borough, helping make Wandsworth one of the UK’s most electric-car friendly authorities.
The number of electric vehicles registered in Wandsworth has grown from 127 at the end of 2015 to well over 400 – and has been rising by as much as ten per cent every three months. That number could rise to around 10,000 by 2025 if the right infrastructure is in place.
The plans will see at least 350 electric vehicle charging lampposts on borough streets which will be offered on request to residents who have already bought or are about to purchase a new electric car. The aim is to make it easier for people to switch to electric and make more eco-friendly travel the norm rather than the exception.
In addition charging plugs will be installed in every suitable lampposts within two pilot zones – around 150 in parts of Thamesfield ward close to busy Putney High Street, and around 240 in a large area of Shaftesbury ward in Battersea immediately adjacent to the proposed extension of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). The results from these trial schemes could see lamppost charging extended to other residential areas.
Introducing lamppost charging points will have no impact on parking provision in the borough. There will be no restrictions on the types of vehicle allowed to use adjacent parking spaces, so they can be used by both electric and non-electric vehicles.
Up to another 120 Source London car charging points are planned to be installed at various locations across the borough, augmenting the 99 that are already in use at 33 separate places in Wandsworth.
The new electric car club would mean cars would be placed on some of the Source London points, enabling people to hire an electric car by the hour, day or week. Wandsworth has one of the highest take-up rates of car club membership in London, with up to 15,000 people signed up. This will give residents a more eco-friendly option.
Councillors also heard that the council’s own fleet is gradually being replaced by electric vehicles. All council vehicles will eventually becoming electric as suitable vehicles become available.
The council’s transport and environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “I’m pleased colleagues agreed these plans last night. Our aim is to improve air quality and help shift our residents’ preferred mode of transport to environmentally-friendly options.
“We know that we need to play our part by removing barriers to choosing cleaner travel. That’s why we want people buying an electric vehicle to be able to charge it, and those wanting to hire a car to be able to chose electric.
“We will continue to work to improve air quality by this and other measures, including lobbying for cleaner buses, encouraging cycling by implementing our cycling strategy, working with the construction industry and putting in measures to improve traffic flow on our busy streets.
“We have recently seen great improvements in air quality in Putney and Nine Elms so we’re confident we’re on the right track. Last night’s decision is another step in the right direction.”