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Success for electric car charging points bill, supported by Mayor James Palmer

28 August 2018

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Mayor James Palmer

Mayor James Palmer’s support for a bill to give Metro Mayors powers to deliver more public electric car charging points has been successful. 

The enactment of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 means that Mayor Palmer, along with other Metro Mayors, will be able to designate locations where large fuel retailers and motorway services operators must provide public charging points within their respective combined authority areas.

Mayor Palmer supported his London counterpart Sadiq Khan in pushing for these powers coming to Mayors as part of the bill.

Although the Act represents an important step forward, before Mayors can exercise these powers the Government still needs to define what precisely constitutes a large fuel retailer and what factors would determine the suitability of a particular location for a charging point. These details would need to be set down in regulations.

Once details are finalised, the Bill will give Metro Mayors the same powers of regulation as the Secretary of State on electric charging points in those defined areas, and giving them the ability to go further, and quicker, than central Government to improve air quality.

Mayor James Palmer said: “The Government is targeting having near total zero emissions cars and vans on our roads by 2050. Clearly, if we want that transition to happen, we need to facilitate the use of electric vehicles through adequate charging infrastructure.  

“The Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 is an important step in that direction. As Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, I head the strategic transport body for the area where we are planning what our infrastructure needs to look like in the short, medium and long term. It makes sense for me to take the lead on shaping how our charging infrastructure should fit into that, and in relation to our other transport plans and priorities.

“I have lent my full support to London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s campaigning on this issue, and I’m glad we now have this bill gain Royal Assent. While there is work still to be done before Mayors can take action on charging points, we at least now have the foundation for those powers through an act of Parliament.”

An HSBC survey, reported in national media in March, suggested that the East was lagging behind much of the rest of the UK for availability of charging points. It found the East has only 172 publicly funded charge points – or 33,994 people per charger –  making it one of the least well-served regions in the UK. 

By contrast, the North East has 664 publicly funded charge points – 3,931 people per charger – while the South East has 572 charge points – 15,372 people per charger, the survey said.

In 2017 the Government signalled its intention to clean up Britain’s air by removing from sale new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040. It formed part of an overall plan to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations at the roadside, and particularly at busy junctions and traffic hotspots.

The Government states that air pollution continues to have an unnecessary and avoidable impact on people’s health and evidence shows that poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, costing the country up to £2.7 billion in lost productivity in 2012.