Agenda item

Electric Car Charging Points (Agenda item 16)

Report of Councillor Alison Webb, Executive Member for People & Information.

Minutes:

The Executive Member for People & Information presented the report.

 

The report sought Members’ approval to support a Highways England initiative to provide four rapid charging points at locations near to the A47 and A11 in the Breckland area.  It also sought approval to work in a partnership arrangement with a number of other local Councils to apply to Highways England for funding to install these charging points.

 

The areas that had been identified by Highways England to have these charging points were the towns of Attleborough, Dereham, Swaffham and Thetford.  It was at the discretion of the Council as to where these charging points should be situated.  Installation costs were free but the maintenance costs were not and would be the responsibility of the Council.  An income would be paid to the Council from the users which could offset these costs and it was understood that at the end of the 10 year period Highways England would not have any further involvement in the installation and as such it would be at the Council’s discretion to determine if the system should continue or be removed.

 

The grant process and bidding process were explained.

 

Councillor Borrett had seen these charging points on private land but these would be installed on public land and he asked whether the Council could enter into some discussion with a number of private partners to offset these costs.  In response, the Executive Member advised that where these points would be put would be a matter for discussion.  The Executive Manager for People & Public Protection felt that the question could be asked.

 

The Executive Member for Finance had also seen a number of these charging points in the area and felt that businesses with their own car parking facilities should be encouraged to install some too.  Another matter to consider was the Council’s Planning Policies to enable others as well as the Council through these policies to install as many points as possible. 

 

The Executive Member for Growth & Commercialisation felt that this would be a great business opportunity for the Council to install these on Council owned car parks and pieces of land that it owned.

 

Councillor Darby, a Ward Member for Swaffham felt that the biggest issue would be getting the power to the charging points.  Members were informed that this had been included in the installation costs. 

 

Councillor Wilkinson felt that the Government figures on how many electric vehicles were in the area should have been available in the report.  He raised concern about the installation costs as he could not see how these could remain at £325 per annum and he pointed out that the charging point at the Green Britain Centre in Swaffham was not used very much and felt that further evidence was required.

 

The Deputy Leader thought this was an exciting opportunity and a chance for the Council to become ‘green’.  Most people complain about the cost of living and this would be an opportunity to install the infrastructure first. The Leader felt that this would enable and encourage more Breckland residents to purchase electric vehicles and if Swaffham already had one this needed to be advertised.

 

The Executive Member for People & Information reported that part of the Air Quality Scheme was to install such points in the garages of new builds.

 

Councillor Wilkinson still believed that the maintenance charge should be looked at in more detail.  In response, the Leader felt that this was the fear of the unknown – these points were just plug sockets and therefore the costs should be of a minimum.

 

The Executive Member for Governance felt that Breckland Council should be the vanguard of this proposal and as far as he was concerned the maintenance costs would be off-set by the charging costs.  He also felt that these points should be installed in all five market towns.

 

The Executive Member for Growth supported a cap of £325 and further approval was required if this amount was exceeded.  Councillor Duigan felt that the maintenance costs would depend on how much it was used.

 

The Executive Member for Finance pointed out that the key issue was whether to sign up for the bid but the nature of the business needed to be understood and what the maintenance figure was all about.

 

The Executive Member for Place (Health Lead) asked if the Council would be completely locked in for a ten year period as he hoped that there would be a little flexibility with Highways England when the technology improved.

 

Reasons

 

By working with a group of Councils using suppliers from the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) to tender for installation of the rapid charging points to apply for and use grant funding from Highways England, Breckland Council can ensure that it obtains the installations at a competitive costs and demonstrate value for money.

 

Options

 

·         Enter into a partnership arrangement led by Babergh Council, with a view to the installation of four rapid charging points at suitable locations within the Breckland area as set down in section 1.3 of the Cabinet report, in support of Highways England and to enhance provision locally to support market towns.

 

·         Do nothing.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)    Breckland Council enters into a partnership of District Councils led by Babergh Council to apply for grant funding from Highways England to install rapid charging points in four locations within the Breckland area adjoining the strategic road network; and

 

2)    Breckland Council had the right to withdraw from the scheme if the annual maintenance costs for each unit increased to more than £325 per annum.

Supporting documents: