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Kent Liberal Democrats call for charging points in every new car park

May 17, 2018 8:36 AM
Originally published by Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

Kent Liberal Democrats are calling for electric car charging points to be included in all future parking development to speed up the county's conversion to electric vehicles.

Charging POintAt full council meeting on Thursday, May 17, Antony Hook, Liberal Democrats spokesperson for economic development, will propose that KCC adopts a raft of measures to make it easier for Kent residents and businesses to switch to electric vehicles.

Cllr Hook will propose that charging points are included in all new car parks - both public and commercial - and this stipulation is added to the Kent Design Guide, a planning document that helps shape development in the county.

He will also call on the council to encourage both government and manufacturers to make electric cars more affordable, and look for ways to make charging points available near people's homes, including those without off-street parking.

A report published by KCC estimates that air pollution killed more than 1,000 people a year in Kent & Medway in 2013. The report states that 'poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK and there is strong evidence associating air pollution with increased mortality and ill health.'

Kent has already seen an increase in the number of electric cars, suggesting people are ready to embrace the new technology if the support is in place. The latest Department for Transport figures show there were 2,299 electric vehicles registered in September 2017, 773 more than September 2016. Yet there are just 90 public charging points in the county, which equates to one for every 25 drivers. This will create a serious bottleneck for future growth.

The Tory-run administration is doing little to encourage the switch to electric vehicles. KCC has so far failed to take advantage of the Department for Transport's On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme, which offers funding of up to 75% for local authorities looking to buy and install electric car charge points.

Cllr Hook said: "The number of deaths due to air pollution are truly shocking and that alone should be enough for Kent County Council to take action, and support our motion.

"Electric vehicles are the future, and Kent should be leading the charge. We want to see a future where the air is safer, cleaner, and both business and consumers can enjoy the benefits of cheap and convenient transport.

"It is up to the council to help provide the infrastructure we need to make this happen. Charging points in public car parks, supermarkets and residential streets are vital to achieve a cleaner, more sustainable county."

KCC's recent report on Air Quality can be found here.

KCC's State of the Environment report can be found here.

The Liberal Democrats' motion in full:

Proposer: Cllr Antony Hook
Seconder: Cllr Rob Bird

Electric Vehicle Charging Points

"This council calls for:

Background information provided by Mr Hook and Mr Bird in support of the motion

The UK Government and the EU is committed to reduce polluting vehicle emissions and, in particular the UK Government will end the sale of new diesel and petrol cars in England by 2040. There was an 11% increase in UK electric car sales in 2017, many of them being taken up by people in Kent.

Many more people in Kent want, and will want in future, to move to cleaner electric vehicles but feel prevented from doing so by cost and lack of infrastructure, especially residents who do not have off-street parking.

Air Quality is a serious danger to the lives and health of residents across Kent with many Air Quality Management Plans in place and Air Quality found to be above legal limits in several areas of Kent.

In January 2018 it was reported to the KCC Environment & Transport Cabinet Committee that:

'1,000 early deaths [per year] across Kent and Medway [were] attributed to poor air quality in 2013." And "..transport emissions remain stubbornly static and are currently the same as they were in 2009. Emerging digital technologies and the growth in the use of electric vehicles present Kent with an exciting opportunity to lead [change].'

The National Planning Policy Framework, states:

'Plans should protect and exploit opportunities for the use of sustainable transport modes for the movement of goods or people. Therefore, developments should be located and designed where practical to: ….. incorporate facilities for charging plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles.'