Charging interest

15/03/2019
Joe Fyans

The Guardian in conjunction with the Liberal Democrats, has revealed that at least one quarter of all councils have no further plans to increase their number of electric vehicle (EV) charging points.

The paper and the party are rightly worried that this may indicate a lack of fuel in the tank for the UK’s journey down the Road to Zero. This is a legitimate concern, one that central government should take careful notice of.

This, however, does not express the full extent of the problems caused by councils abandoning their posts at the vanguard of the impending EV revolution. This issue is not solely a concern of transport planning. Instead the move to EVs represents a challenge for delivering inclusive growth which councils must be attentive to.

As I have argued before in Highways, the way in which EV chargers and associated infrastructure upgrades are rolled out has a fairness dynamic. Put simply, if investment in charging equipment is not made ahead of demand in certain areas, a ‘tale of two cities’ scenario could emerge whereby only areas wealthy enough to be early adopters of EVs see their benefits. And this despite the cost of infrastructure upgrades being shared across society.

Councils are well aware of which areas within their boundaries are most likely to suffer from social exclusion and, in collaboration with network providers, can work to guard against this.

There is also an educative role for local government in all of this. Why, after all, do we want a switch to EVs in the first place? There is of course the need to shift away from finite and near-exhausted fossil fuel resources.

But there is also the increasingly pressing air quality issue. For our cities and towns to be the clean, efficient, ‘smart’ places we aim for, more needs to change than our source of fuel.

Education is paramount, and from an early age. The success of Copenhagen’s transformation to a smart city is partly hinged on its citizens' early years education on cycling. The evidence suggests such shared knowledge makes the transition away from congested and contaminated streets that much easier.

Bringing seemingly disparate areas like energy infrastructure upgrades, neighbourhood-level social mobility data and early years education together into a coherent strategy is the natural role of local government.

To be sure, local government is currently woefully underfunded for this task, but that does not mean the responsibility is going away. Calls for councils to put the pedal to the metal on the EV rollout are welcome, but they must come alongside calls for greater funding and a more devolved regulatory framework which recognises the complex and multifaceted role local authorities must play.

Joe Fyans is head of research at Localis.

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Inside

  • Smart motorways' BCR problem
  • New lighting decision support tool

 

 

View the latest issue


Highways jobs

Senior Project Manager

Up to £50,823 per annum
The role of this post is to oversee the project management, development and implementation of the County Council’s Major Transport Projects.. Leicestershire
Recruiter: Leicestershire County Council

Programme and Change Delivery Manager (Spatial Planning and Urban Design)

£43,833 - £53,115 Depending on skills and experience
Are you a change delivery manager with expertise in England’s local government spatial planning and urban design sector? Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Bridges Manager – Highways and Transportation

£49,320 to £57,376
You will be responsible for... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Head of Major Projects and Infrastructure – Highways and Transportation

£59,526 to £67,815 plus 10% recruitment payment
This role will be pivotal to the effective delivery of our Highways and Transportation service, therefore requires an... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Principal Travel Plan Officer

£34,728 to £38,890 per annum
We have a fantastic opening within our team for a Principal Travel Plan Officer. Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Director of Economy & Environment

£96,414 to £106,650 per annum
You will play a leading role in driving forward the county’s ambitious growth programme. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Director of Transport & Highways

£96,414 to £106,650 per annum
You will play a leading role in driving forward Gloucestershire’s ambitious, multi-million pound transport and highways programme. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Board and Partnership Board Chair

Up to £60,000 per annum
This is unique opportunity to lead the Northern agenda and play a pivotal role in creating new opportunities for 15 million people in the North. Manchester/Leeds (Flexible)
Recruiter: Transport for the North

Waste Strategy Manager

£47,672 per annum
We are looking to recruit a waste strategy specialist to add the necessary technical expertise to our team. North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear
Recruiter: North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council

Highways Officers

£26,999 to £29,636
Are you someone who is looking to progress their career with one of the most highly regarded highway services in the country? Selby, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Operative

£19,312 to £21,748
We are looking for Highways Operatives to work as part of our operations teams here at Kirklees Council. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Senior Environmental Health Officer

£44,370 - £50,964 per annum
As a Senior Officer in the Food Safety & Infectious Disease team, you will be one of the operational leads on... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recruiter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Permit Officer

£24,982 - £27,041
In October 2016 Cambridgeshire County Council launched it Permit Scheme for Road Works and Street Works. Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
Recruiter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Traffic Systems Engineer

Competitive Salary
This is a full time role, with a minimum of 37 hours a week for a 6 month interim period, with the potential of the role going permanent. York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Transport Compliance Officer

£27,741 - £30,451 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen for two Transport Compliance Officers to join our Transport Services team at... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Client Team Leader - Highway Maintenance

£40,876 - £42,821 per annum
Are you looking for a challenge that widens your experience, adds something unique to your CV and helps to make Warwickshire the best it can be?  Warwickshire
Recruiter: Warwickshire County Council

Head of Waste & Parking

£62,235–£68,615 pa
Are you passionate about waste recycling and the bigger picture of sustainability and tackling the climate emergency? Horsham, West Sussex
Recruiter: Horsham District Council

Project Engineer x2

Grade H £35,745 - £43,857
We’re looking for experienced civil engineers to join our well-regarded design and implementation team. Havant, Hampshire
Recruiter: Havant Borough Council

Environment Locality Officer

£27,741 - £29,577 per annum
The officer will play a key role in collaborative working with other internal & external stakeholders specifically... Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Senior Principal Structures Engineer

£39,880 - £42,821 per annum
We are looking for a dynamic structurally competent and relevantly experienced officer, to deliver the structural requirements and disciplines on... Bristol
Recruiter: Bristol City Council

Highways Presents

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Video