'Not enough vehicle charging points' - claim
September 06 2020
South Gloucestershire has the lowest number of electric vehicle charging points (EVCPs) in the region, according to the latest official figures.
In Filton there are only two locations - at Asda and Sainsbury's - while there are also points nearby at Southmead Hospital.
South Glos Council has admitted they'have a long way to go'.
A list of new locations, to be installed by March 2021, does not include Filton although they are'investigating' new sites in the town for the future.
Liberal Democrat councillor Adrian Rush cited the figures at a recent meeting of South Gloucestershire Council, soon after the Tory-led council boasted of its plans to install 14 new EVCPs by March 2021.
The district has 59 public charging points able to charge one or more electric vehicles at a time, according to the government figures from April which were published last month.
However, only 20 of these were funded by the council, according to a spokesperson for the local authority. The rest were paid for privately.
Cllr Rush, who represents Chipping Sodbury and Cotswold Edge, said:“The problem is that even with the 14 new points, we’re lagging way behind in the provision of electric vehicle charging points. Our figure is 21 charging points per 100,000 people.
“Now, even sleepy Cornwall’s got 36.
“Some of the other local authorities are well into the 200s.
“When are we going to catch up with better local authorities?”
The Department for Transport figures, sourced from the electric vehicle charging website Zap-map.com, show that South Gloucestershire’s 21 public charging points per 100,000 people compares with 24 in Bristol, 29 in Bath and North East Somerset, 36 in Cornwall and 38 in North Somerset.
With 24 of South Gloucestershire’s charging points having at least one connector of 43kW or above, its rate of“rapid” charging points is 8.5 per 100,000 people, compared with 1.6 in Bath and North East Somerset, 4.1 in Bristol, 4.8 in Cornwall and 9.3 in North Somerset.
Cllr Rush demanded answers about the situation at this month’s full council meeting on July 15 and again at a meeting of the scrutiny commission on July 22.
He said:“I don’t understand how we got into this state to be quite honest with you. But it isn’t actually just the council that’s not supplying them.
“It’s basically the big companies that supply electrical charging points.
“We’ve got only, I think, four or five company-based electrical charging points in South Gloucestershire from the big boys.”
Cabinet member for transport Steve Reade acknowledged that South Gloucestershire had a“long way to go” in terms of EVCPs and said he always raised the matter with developers.
He said:“I do recognise the need that we have to have more charging points, and that is well and truly on my agenda to promote more charging points.
“When I have conversations with developers, it is something on my agenda to discuss with them that they do have due consideration for electricity charging points as part of the development.”
It’s been just over three years since the council installed any new EVCPs in South Gloucestershire, and it will be another three or four months before the first of a new batch of 14“rapid”(43kW+) or“fast”(7-22kW) chargers is in place and ready to use.
Figures provided by the council show it funded the installation of 20 charging points, with one or two bays each, across 14 locations between 2012 and 2017.
These were installed for“public and business use”, with some located at business sites such as Hewlett Packard and Friends Life/Aviva, according to a council spokesperson.
The first five of the 37 new charging bays that went in across the five-year period were installed at the Bristol and Bath Science Park and were a mixture of standard and rapid-charging points.
The rest, which included charging points at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway and Longwell Green Leisure Centre, were fast or rapid-charging.
First of 14 new charging points should be ready in November
The council announced earlier this month it would be rolling out 14 extra charging points across seven locations by
March 2021, bringing the total number of council-funded chargers to 34.
The first new points – at Emersons Green, Kingswood, Patchway and Thornbury – should be ready by November, a council spokesperson said.
The rest – at Hanham, Staple Hill, and Yate – are due to follow in January, February and March 2021, respectively. The exact sites and number of charging points planned for each location are:
Emersons Green – the Bristol and Bath Science Park(6)
Kingswood – Cecil Road car park(2)
Patchway – The Parade, Epney Close(1)
Thornbury – Mary Street car park(1)
Hanham – Laburnum Road car park(1)
Staple Hill – Haynes Lane(1)
Yate – Yate Shopping Centre West car park, Station Road entrance(2).
The council has said it has plans for six more charging points at the Bristol and Bath Science Park in the future, and is investigating putting in more at Staple Hill, Mangotsfield, Cribbs Causeway, Filton, Frampton Cotterell and Marshfield.
It hopes to install a“significant” number of charging points over the next few years with the help of the private sector.
A spokesman said:“We are working to better understand future demand and what our role will be to satisfy these needs.”