As noted before, I am a very strong supporter of deploying more electric vehicle charging points, so that it is possible for residents to charging electric vehicles. This would go a long way towards resolving Camden’s long-standing pollution problems.
This is essential given so few properties in Camden have driveways or garages: making car-owners dependent on public infrastructure, which is woefully lacking. Camden has just 28 charging points across the whole borough!
It is therefore absolutely risible that Camden Labour councillors have proposed a motion for Monday’s council meeting that praises Camden for successfully bidding for funding for 33 new charging points. Other councils received grants for several hundred, but no, Camden is happy with 33.
Even more absurdly, the motion claims the funding comes from the Mayor of London. Wrong. It comes from central government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles – created and funded by the Conservative government – which gave a grant to London. The Mayor merely allocates it between boroughs: with Camden happy to receive just a tiny sliver.
As such, I have proposed an amendment to Labour’s motion, calling for Camden to bid for more funding, especially looking to use the system adopted in Richmond upon Thames of installing charging points in existing lamp-posts: enabling the swift and inexpensive deployment of thousands of charging points without extra street clutter or engineering works. The amended motion would read:
This Council notes that the Greater London Authority estimates that air pollution in London contributes to 9,416 early deaths a year.
This Council welcomes funding streams from the Government – provided to the Greater London Authority – that have facilitated initiatives that support Camden residents, businesses, and schools to reduce their contribution to air pollution. Camden Council is helping directly too, for instance providing grants to local voluntary groups to install monitoring equipment outside all of our schools and at pollution hotspots.
This Council further notes that NOx levels outside many of our schools exceed legal limits. This data is being used by this Council to lobby the Government to take serious action in providing further leadership and even more funding to tackle air pollution. We have recently closed off Macklin Street to traffic during school drop-off and pickup times outside St Joseph CoE primary school, and are working with other willing schools and residents to explore doing the same in their areas.
This Council further notes that in a bid to reduce air pollution from cars, we are aiming to install at least 30 charging points for electric cars retrofitted into existing lamp columns in the next 12 months, we are introducing new parking pollution surcharges in paid for parking bays, in addition to already introduced diesel parking surcharges in resident bays, we have conducted anti-idling awareness campaigns with drivers, and around 500 parking permits for parents of school children have been discontinued from this month. Also, new planning policies for developments means all new residential buildings will now be “car free”, and transport policies are encouraging walking and cycling. This Council, however, notes that prohibiting parking provision on the site of new developments has contributed to pressure on on-street parking, as some bypass restrictions on permits, and made it more difficult to provide off-street infrastructure to facilitate electric vehicles.
This Council notes that this funding for electric vehicle charging was provided as part of the £13m granted to the Greater London Authority by the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). This Council notes that Camden’s network of just 28 charging points is one of the smallest in London, and so regrets that it bid for just 30 in-lamppost charging points: one for every 8,000 Camden residents and a small fraction of the more than 200 provided in Conservative-run Richmond-upon-Thames. This Council regrets that it put in a bid for just £112,500 of this £13m: 1% of the fund, despite Camden accounting for 3% of London boroughs, meaning that Camden requested far less funding than it needs or could have otherwise received.
This Council applauds the use of cost-effective and discreet in-lamp-post technology in Richmond-upon-Thames and elsewhere. This Council notes that they are more suitable – especially in Conservation Areas – than street furniture, about which there has previously been insufficient consultation, and notes that deploying them in sufficiently large numbers would allow parking spaces to be ‘dual-use’, such that adding electric vehicle charging capacity does not reduce the parking capacity for non-electric vehicles and vice versa.
This Council further notes that the average price of the points that it aims to install under the scheme is over £4,500: over three times the price that Richmond-upon- Thames is paying to install its in-lamp-post charging points and five times the amount that OLEV’s guidance to local authorities states that most schemes should cost to deploy.
This Council commits to work with the City of London Corporation to facilitate electric charging points on car parks it runs in the borough. This Council further notes that £8m of grants are still available from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles via the Go Ultra Low City initiative, and therefore commits to bidding for more of this funding such that Camden can lead the country in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, rather than lagging behind as it will under its current plans.
For more about my campaign to reduce air pollution, click here.