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Council aiming for an electric vehicle charge point on every residential street

Boost: an electric car charges up in London. Photograph: frankh / Flickr

Hackney Council has revealed a “much more ambitious approach” to electric vehicle charging points, with the Town Hall’s transport boss looking into installing them on every residential street in the borough by 2022.

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville’s manifesto included a pledge for 80 per cent of residents to be within half a kilometre of a charging point in the same timeframe, but Cllr Jon Burke (Lab, Woodberry Down), cabinet member for transport, has dismissed that promise as “not good enough”.

The council is running a study on the feasibility of the proposals next year, which will look at the technology to be provided, as well as when the points will be delivered and how it will be financed.

Burke said: “The current manifesto pledge is basically not fit for purpose within the context of our climate emergency motion.

“I don’t own a car and have never been a driver, but cars are driven for convenience. People don’t drive them so they can drive half a kilometre away, charge their car for a few hours, go home in the meantime, then come back and drive the half kilometre home.

“That doesn’t make sense to me, so I’m not convinced that manifesto pledge, while ambitious at the time, is sufficient to catalyse the transition to electric vehicles that we envisage in the future.

“Notwithstanding the fact that I don’t see electric vehicles as a panacea by any means, I think we need far fewer and far cleaner vehicles on our roads.

“When I took over in July one of the first things I did was begin assessing what I think is necessary and what is possible to deliver within a relatively short time frame.”

Town Hall transport chief Cllr Jon Burke

The plans would provide 2,000 charge points in Hackney, more than double the amount of lamp post chargers that had been introduced across the whole of the capital when Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced his “electric revolution” back in June.

The ambitious target is based on the Cllr Burke’s belief that getting charge points onto as many streets as possible will encourage more people to switch to electric, with rapid charging points that help vehicles such as black cabs to charge swiftly also being looked at in other parts of the borough.

Burke stressed that new Town Hall energy company Hackney Light & Power will “sit in front of” the plans, ensuring public ownership and accountability.

It is understood that the feasibility study, set to begin in January, will focus on housing estates, with the transport boss expressing his preference to officers for converting existing lamp posts into charging points rather than standalone technology.

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