Agenda item

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Review: 12 Month Update


The Chairman introduced the item noting that the under the Committee’s previous guise, the Public Safety and Transport Select Committee, a major review into Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure and policy development in the Borough had been  undertaken during the 2021/22 municipal year and that this item acted as a follow up to that review for the Committee receive information regarding the state of play when it came to the Council’s EV infrastructure. Poonam Pathak, Head of Highways, was present for this item and delivered a comprehensive update to Members regarding the Borough’s EV policy direction.


The Committee had received a copy of the Council’s draft Electric Vehicle Strategy which had resulted in support of the ‘Council Strategy 2022 – 2026’, the Council’s ‘Strategic Climate Change Action Declaration and Plan (released in July 2021)’ and ‘Local Implementation Plan (LIP) 2019 - 2041 (LIP)’; in addition to the Public Safety and Transport Select Committee’s review into EV infrastructure and policy development. The drafted strategy would also form part of the Council’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions.


The Committee were informed of the procurement groundwork that had been undertaken in researching the needs of the Council when it came to EV charge points and infrastructure. By way of update, Members were informed that the tender process would be running until 27 April 2023 as opposed to 19 April as stated in the report, and that officers were aiming to align the procurement of an EV charge point provider for Cabinet approval in June 2023. The Committee were informed that the delivery of EV charging infrastructure from the Council would be demand led and could consist of charging provision on adopted highways, other Council owned property such as workplaces and Council owned public car parks.


Over the initial stages of the procurement process, the Council had explored three prospective routes to market including; full Council ownership of EV charge points, private concession ownership, and a shared Council/private concession option. It was agreed that the Council would pursue a shared Council/private ownership option which would allow the Council more control over the operational aspects of the public EV charge points.


The Committee highlighted that Hillingdon had fewer publicly available EV charge points when compared to inner London boroughs and queried why Hillingdon had been relatively slower on the uptake of EV charge point provision. Officers noted that the inner boroughs had significantly less availability of off-street parking where Hillingdon featured many more driveways and possibilities for at home charging rather than the on-street charging needed in the inner boroughs, often through light column charge points. It was noted that the provision of EV charging infrastructure was demand led and there had not been significant demand for on-street charging in Hillingdon as of yet. The Council’s strategy would be aimed initially at destination charging in places such as car parks.


The Committee sought to highlight that the Public Safety and Transport Select Committee concluded their review into EV infrastructure in spring 2022 and wanted to clarify why the procurement process was only now getting off the ground. Officers noted that a tender exercise did take place in 2022 however the bids were not financially or commercially suitable for the Council, it was then decided that the development of the Council’s EV Strategy should come first, the draft strategy was subsequently developed and the tendering process was recommenced in 2023. It was also stated that, due to the very fast movement of the EV sector, the Council would be continually assessing demand and looking at the appropriateness of facilitating new technologies.


Members queried whether in the long term, the Council would look to adopt potential charging destinations that may no longer be used for their original function for example, petrol stations. It was noted that the private sector would assume a large amount of the demand for EV charging and it may be the case that petrol stations are converted into ultra fast charging hubs, which had already started happening in some areas. It was not yet known how this change would manifest in real terms.


The Committee thanked officers for their report and were encouraged by the positive moves forward with regard to EV infrastructure in the Borough. Members stated that they were looking forward seeing the implementation of the EV charging contract across Hillingdon.


RESOLVED: That the Property, Highways and Transport Select Committee noted the contents of the report and provided comments to officers as appropriate on the EV Infrastructure proposal.

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