Hounslow Cycling (‘We’) agree that Hounslow should establish an EV Charging Strategy given the push to encourage ownership of electric vehicles by the car industry and central government. The headline target of 2000 charge points by 2025 does not seem unreasonable to us.
We strongly agree with proposed Objective 5, i.e. the new infrastructure should support more efficient use of our streets. Active travel or public transport will often be better than an EV in relation to Hounslow’s and London’s objectives for air quality, carbon emissions, road safety and public health. We would like to see this aspect of the strategy fleshed out to include more specific guidelines for road planners. Our suggestions are listed below.
Aligning EV Charging to Overall Transport Strategy
EVs have the same ‘negative externalities’ as ICEVs (internal combustion engine vehicles) in relation to embedded carbon, air quality, road safety and congestion. The overall transport strategy for Hounslow reflects this by encouraging modal shift to active travel and public transport alongside the switch from ICEVs to EVs for the journeys that continue to be made by car.
We believe that the installation of EV charging points should be carried out in a way that contributes to the overarching objectives of transport strategy in Hounslow. That broadly means that space and funding should be reallocated from cars to people. It follows that space and funding for EV charging infrastructure should come from ICEVs rather than public transport and active travel.
We suggest the following guidelines are applied to the development of designs for the required EV infrastructure:-
- Do not exempt EVs from parking charges in future. Remove existing exemptions as soon as politically feasible. The car industry can afford to sell its own products without help from a financially challenged local authority.
- Maintain or increase (in real terms) parking charges for ICEVs whilst offering discounts for EVs and providing more bike racks. A mixture of carrots and sticks encourages behavioural change.
- Install standalone charging points (i.e. those not in lampposts) in the roadway or on private land, not on the footway. Power Road exemplifies good practice, Strand on the Green bad practice. Taking space away from pedestrians undermines efforts to get people to walk more as our roads become cleaner, greener and safer.
- Do not provide kerbside charging points on the proposed routes of Cycleway 9 or Hounslow Priority Cycle Network. Kerbside parking spaces in these locations are likely to have to be moved or removed to provide key safe cycling routes and thus meet modal switch and vision zero targets.
- Do not provide kerbside charging points where vehicles are parked partly on the footway. Parking on the footway should be removed, not made more permanent.
- Prioritise provision of charging points for car club spaces and private hire vehicles. This should encourage use of transport-as-a- service in place of car ownership. That frees up road space for movement instead of parking and reduces embedded carbon.
- Provide safe parking space for one cargo bike and four conventional bikes for every four EV parking spaces. To encourage drivers to think about switching from ICEV to bikes instead of an EV.
- Do not install charging points or cabling in sites suitable for tree planting. Greening of public spaces encourages active travel and helps to absorb carbon.
- Vigorously enforce planning and other regulations that prevent EV owners running cables across pavement. Trailing and covered cables make pavements hazardous for wheelchair users and the visually impaired.
We believe that Hounslow is already taking into account the checklist on EV Charging Infrastructure that London Living Streets published in April 2019. This is welcomed by our members, all of whom are pedestrians in the borough as well as cyclists.
Hounslow Cycling are the borough group of the London Cycle Campaign with several hundred local members. We campaign for better cycling facilities in Hounslow. We offer training and rides for cyclists who are inexperienced or less confident. We provide a focus for those interested in cycling locally through meetings (usually over a drink but currently on Zoom) and social media.