Environmental Services and Sustainability Portfolio
To consider report PES/364 of the Head of Economy and Planning, which was referred to the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 22 June 2020.
The Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability presented report PES/364 of the Head of Economy and Planning. In December 2019, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) adopted an Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy which set out a plan to procure a supplier to deliver a county-wide EV charging network. It had been requested that Crawley Borough Council partake in the scheme and nominate sites for the erection of EV charging points.
Councillor Rana presented the Overview and Scrutiny Commission’s comments on the report to the Cabinet following consideration of the matter at its meeting on 22 June 2020, which included:
· Reduced emissions were welcomed but it was noted that the vehicle batteries had a finite lifetime and could not be recycled - however there were second uses for batteries such as energy storage.
· The additional pressure on the existing power infrastructure should be considered.
· Recognition that the list of sites was not definitive nor confirmed and was also in addition to those proposed by WSCC, and that there was currently an option to recommend sites on the WSCC website.
· Concerns surrounding the number of spaces and potential concentration of the sites, which may overwhelm some areas. Consultation with ward Councillors would be welcomed.
· Acknowledgement that the issue of parking remained throughout the town and enforcement could take place through the usual channels for penalty use of EV charging points.
Councillors P Smith, Lamb, Mullins, and Jhans spoke as part of the discussion on the report. Cabinet Members expressed general support for the proposals, and it was noted that creation of sufficient infrastructure for EV would facilitate a reduction in carbon emissions. The figure that 30% of households in the borough do not have off-road parking and thus would be unable to install an EV charging point was queried. Concerns were also raised about the potentially inhibitory cost of electric cars. It was recognised that there would be potential for the Council to suggest changes to the WSCC strategy, including the charging point sites, at a later date.
A recorded vote was taken on the recommendations in accordance with the Council’s Virtual Committee Procedure Rules. The names of the Councillors voting for and against the recommendations, along with any abstentions, are recorded as set out below:
For the recommendations:
Councillors Irvine, Jhans, Lamb, Mullins, and P Smith. (5)
Against the recommendations:
That the Cabinet
a) approves, in principle that the Council takes part in the EV Charging Infrastructure Network scheme, led by WSCC who will procure an EV infrastructure provider, through a concession contract to deliver an extensive EV charging network across the Borough.
b) delegates authority to the Head of Economy and Planning, to undertake further discussions with WSCC, including consideration of any necessary associated documentation to progress the delivery of these services to benefit the borough.*
c) delegates authority to the Head of Economy and Planning, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, the approval of the Council entering into the scheme depending on the results of the tender process*
*(Generic Delegation 7 will be used to enact this recommendation).
Reasons for the Recommendations
Tangible Action in response to the Climate Change Emergency Declaration
Transport contributes over a third of the carbon emission across Crawley Borough (250 ktCO2 pA) and is the one sector that is on an upward trend, and therefore in order to meet the obligations of our Climate Emergency declaration, the Council should work as quickly as possible to enable residents to switch to low emissions vehicles.
Lack of EV Charging Infrastructure is holding back EV take up
One of the main barriers to increased take-up of low emissions vehicles is the lack of charging infrastructure. We know that residents would prefer to charge their car at or near their homes. We also know that 30% of households do not have access to off road parking and will find it hard to make the switch to EV. Providing chargers for these people is vital, and the scheme proposed by WSCC will address this.
No Maintenance Liability or Cost to CBC
WSCC will be procuring a concession contract to install a network of EV charge
points across the county. With the option to extend, the 7 year concession contract will be delivered entirely by the preferred supplier, who will be responsible for joint planning, funding, building, marketing and operating a publicly accessible charge point network across West Sussex, as well as providing an on-going 24/7 service (including the management of payments and support), with full responsibility for maintenance and repair to ensure the network is fully operational at all times.
The “Fast Track” roll out of EV Charging Infrastructure
The scheme will use a portfolio based approach using commercially attractive sites to support less viable sites. Fast and rapid charge points will be installed on-street, in public sector car parks, and on community assets county wide, providing charging primarily for those residents and businesses who do not have access to off road parking. The provider will be contractually obliged to fast track infrastructure roll out.
Crawley will benefit from EV Infrastructure going elsewhere in West Sussex
Horsham, Adur & Worthing, Arun and Mid Sussex District Councils are all planning to be involved in the scheme. The contract will be made available to other defined Contracting Bodies to join, such as district, boroughs, parish councils and incorporate parish halls, community centres etc. over the lifetime of the contract.
Improvements to Air Quality in Crawley
Recent analyses pre-COVID 19 crisis have indicated that the air quality situation in parts of the Borough was getting significantly worse, particularly as regards NOx and particulate pollution. The rapid uplift in available EV charging infrastructure will incentivise conversion to electric vehicles to help enhance air quality.