New electric vehicle charging points for Swindon

By Barrie Hudson - 4 November 2021

Community

Swindon Borough Council has installed the borough's on-street electric vehicle charging bays.

The 11 new double-headed electric vehicle charging points, totalling 22 bays, are in key locations chosen by residents.

The installation strengthens the council's ongoing Be the Change campaign, which encourages everybody to do what they can to protect the environment and tackle climate change.

Councillor Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Finance and Commercialisation, said: “Over the next few years, encouraging more residents to make the switch to an electric vehicle will play a key role in reducing Swindon’s carbon emissions and help us join the journey to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, in line with the Government’s target. 

"But, in order to do this, it’s important we have the infrastructure in place to make it simple and convenient for residents to use electric vehicles.

“With the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) taking place in Glasgow this week, climate change is rightly dominating the world agenda. But it’s not just down to world leaders to make a difference. 

"We all have an important part to play and by introducing these charging points in the most requested areas of the town, and by developing our wider Electric Vehicle Charging Point Strategy, we hope to see more residents being the change and switching to electric vehicles.”

Earlier this year, the Government announced it had set the world’s most ambitious climate change target, to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 78 per cent by 2035, compared with levels in 1990, taking the UK more than three-quarters of the way to reaching net zero by 2050.

In the UK, transport is the largest emitting sector of greenhouse gas emissions, producing 27 per cent of the UK’s total emissions in 2019, with cars and taxis the biggest contributors to this at 61 per cent.

In November 2020, the Prime Minister announced that as part of his 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, the Government would end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, with all new cars and vans being fully zero emission from 2035.

As a result, an urgent need emerged across the UK, for the introduction of local infrastructure to allow residents to easily make the switch to using electric or hybrid vehicles.

Last year, the Council ran a survey to understand how residents might use electric vehicle charging points in Swindon and where the demand was highest in the Borough.

Following completion of the survey, a bid was made to the Government and funding was secured for 11 double-headed on-street electric vehicle charging points, totalling 22 bays. The majority of the funding for the 22 charging bays will come from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, with the rest funded directly by the Council.

Following the successful bid, and after identifying the most popular locations, the 22 charging point parking bays have now been installed in several areas across the Central and Eastcott Wards, including:

- Broad Street (4 parking bays)

- Westmorland Street (2 parking bays)

- Dixon Street (2 parking bays)

- Maidstone Road (2 parking bays)

- Ashford Road (4 parking bays)

- William Street (2 parking bays)

- Milton Road (4 parking bays)

- Ford Street (2 parking bays)

Each charging point has been branded with the Council’s ‘Be the Change’ community-led climate change campaign logo.

While there will be a cost to use the charging points, set at 25p per KWh or around 7p per mile, it will be cheaper than a petrol or diesel alternative. The charging points will be operated by EB Charging, and users can download the EB GO! app to manage their charging. 

An experimental Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) is currently in place for residents to comment on the restricted charging point bays, which can only be used by residents with an electric vehicle. Residents can provide their feedback until 31 January 2022, after which time the Council will review the comments received and determine if the parking bays will become a permanent feature. Residents can find out more and share their views at https://www.swindon.gov.uk/info/20135/traffic_management/657/find_out_about_traffic_regulation_orders_tros/6

All residents and visitors with a valid Resident Zone Parking permit are welcome to use the bays to charge their electric vehicles, and it is hoped their installation will encourage road users in the local area to consider the switch to driving an electric vehicle.

Louise, a resident in the Eastcott Ward, currently drives a small petrol car but has wanted to replace it with an electric car for some time. Louise said: “Electric vehicles can have a significant role in shifting away from our reliance on fossil fuels. I'm really pleased to see the Council continuing to take an active role in decarbonisation and cleaner air. 

"Given the urgency of addressing climate change, finding opportunities to build the infrastructure we need is a great investment for tomorrow.

“Access to charging facilities is a great step forward in neighbourhoods like mine, where most drivers rely on on-street parking. I am now several hundred times more likely to buy an electric vehicle, as before these charging points were available, my only option was a hybrid. I would say I am very confident that my next car will be an electric vehicle.”

Andy, another resident in the Eastcott Ward, said: “I bought an electric vehicle in 2018 but home charging is not possible in a terraced street. These charging points are a real benefit to me and should enable more residents to consider changing to an electric vehicle.”

Other residents across Swindon are also leading the change. Up to 31 March 2020, there were 1,537 registrations for pure battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in Swindon. From 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, this increased significantly by 82 per cent, to 2,810 registrations, and the council hopes to see this increase further over the next few years. 

The installation of these first charging points is billed by the council as just the start of the journey to provide charging infrastructure across the borough, to support the transition to electric vehicles.

To facilitate the Government’s ambition to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and to meet the low emission targets set out in the council’s Net Zero Emissions Action Plan, the council launched its Draft Electric Vehicle Charging Point Strategy consultation over the summer, which asked residents to share their views on the council’s proposals for introducing further electric charging infrastructure across Swindon. 

The council received 106 responses to the survey and is now using those to develop the final Electric Vehicle Charging Point Strategy.

EB Charging CEO Alex Calnan said: “We started EB Charging to help Britain's towns and cities achieve zero emissions, and we’re very happy to be working with Swindon Borough Council on their ambitious plans. Installing 22 charging bays exclusively for EV use is just the kind of bold thinking residents, businesses and visitors need to see to be confident to make the switch to electric, and should be applauded.”

The Be the Change website is www.swindon.gov.uk/bethechange and more information about electric vehicles can be found at https://www.swindontravelchoices.co.uk/getting-around/car/electric-vehicles/

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