Agenda item

Motion on Notice from Councillor Everitt

To consider and, if thought fit, to approve the Motion as set out in the associated notice.

Minutes:

Councillor Everitt moved, and Councillor Morton seconded, the motion set out in the report subject to an alteration of the motion under Council Procedure Rule 13.7.1 to replace “Full Council on 8 July 2020” in paragraph 4 with “Cabinet on 10 September 2020”. The meeting consented to the alteration by affirmation.

 

Mr David Mooney had registered to speak, which included in the following comments:

·         The question now was not whether we should act, but what action could be taken and how quickly.

·         Now the owner of an electric car, but with no driveway.

·         Kent County Council suggested use of the Olaf Government Grant for the installation of home and on street charging points.

·         The recent Kent Energy and Low Emissions Strategy consultation identified transport as the biggest problem producing 41% of carbon emissions.

·         Funds were available that would allow councils to take the first steps to meet projected need, which was anticipated to be 50-70% of new cars by 2030.

·         Westminster and Southwark Council were using lamppost charging systems. Oxford Council had installed pop up chargers that emerged from the pavement.

·         There had been stories that sited potential problems with power capacity. In 2017 there was an implication that 6 nuclear power stations would be needed to meet the new demand. This statement had since been withdrawn and apology given.

·         The use of better charged storage systems and smart charging that would regulate demand to off peak periods would provide a much higher set of efficiencies.

·         Council car parks had been identified as potential new locations.

 

Debate on the motion included the following comments:

·         The Borough’s infrastructure for the use of Electric Vehicles was behind the level of demand.

·         Tiered authorities contributed to a lack of responses to new resident demands.

·         Central Government applications for funding were not restricted to Highway Authorities.

·         TWBC should be proactive and put together a funding plan and a resident led list of charging point locations that could be submitted to Kent CC. 

·         The reference to 6 nuclear power stations was put forward as the necessary increase in output to fuel 30 million cars if all the cars were replaced that were currently on the road.  Alongside this statistic was the need for 3 million charging points.  Based on population, Kent would need 70,000 charging points. 

·         The current method for ‘fuelling’ was to go to a petrol station – should one consideration be to turn these to electric stations.

·         The issue was too big to be restricted to discussions within the Borough.  It needed to be County wide and include a wide range of relevant organisations.

·         The Chinese had incorporated solar panels into the roofs of their cars as an alternative to using dedicated charging points.

·         The Council had a duty to provide an option that would allow people to drive around in an environmentally friendly way.

 

Councillor Bailey moved, and Councillor Woodward seconded, an amendment to the motion, to remove paragraphs 4-7 and add in its place: “The Council recognises that the draft Local Plan includes both Borough wide and site specific polices that would drive up the number of EV charging points and commits to work with KCC to explore how we can improve the number and availability of curb side charging points and how this can be funded so as to minimise the impact on local tax payers.”

 

Debate on the amendment included the following comments:

·         This amended motion should not be supported, as with the accident risk register and the motion on poverty, it would only serve to push the issue into the long grass. 

·         The amended motion advocated collaboration with Kent County Council.  It should also include other commercial suppliers.

·         The amendment demonstrated how this work could be taken forward and the reality of what would be involved to make it happen.

·         The amendment recognised the complexity of the issue but failed to give any indication of how it could be progressed.

·         The evolving technology was kinetic energy, hydrogen cell technology.  The danger was that electric charging points would be installed that would then become redundant. It was therefore important to think in the longer term and take account of evolving technology alongside the current thinking around EV charging.

·         To encourage people to take up the option of having an electric car there needed to be mechanisms in place to do this from their homes.

·         The amendment did not include any targets, timeframe or measures for success.

·         The amendment was reactive and not proactive.

·         A better objective would be to concentrate on the installation of EV charging points, rather than obtaining a positon on a league table that would be subject to constant change.

·         Transport as whole including vehicle design and emerging technology should be included – EV charging in isolation was not the answer.

·         As this issue had already been included the draft Local Plan it was suggested this would be the logical route to take the work forward.

·         The inclusion of a target of 20% was suggested as a better way forward rather than to focus on a target number of EV chargers.

·         The original motion focussed its attention on what could be done now, rather than in the longer term.  The use of hydrogen was too far in the future.

 

Councillor Everitt requested a recorded vote on the amendment.

 

Members who voted in favour of the amendment: Councillors Atwood, Backhouse, Bailey, Barrington-King, Bland, Mrs Cobbold, Dawlings, Fairweather, Hamilton, Holden, Mackonochie, March, McDermott, Reilly, Scott, Simmons, Thomson, Williams and Woodward. (19)

 

Members who voted against the amendment: Councillors Atkins, Chapelard, Everitt, Funnell, Hayward, Hickey, Hill, Lewis, Morton, Poile, Pope, Pound, Rands, Rutland and Warne. (15)

 

Members who abstained: The Mayor Councillor Scholes and The Deputy Mayor Councillor Podbury. (2)

 

AMENDMENT CARRIED

 

The amendment became the substantive motion.

 

The Mayor took a vote on the substantive motion by affirmation.

 

RESOLVED –

 

Tunbridge Wells has seen a significant increase in Electric Vehicle (EV) ownership in 2019. It was 8th in the highest growth rate league of EV ownership in the UK. Yet, as of October 2019, our borough had only 21 public charging points, placing it far below the average of 40 per UK local authority area. One of our neighbouring authorities of Maidstone possessed 37.

 

In response to our deficit of public charge devices, this Council recognises its responsibility to increase provision for current and future need across the borough including significant kerb side provision for those who do not have off street parking. Currently devices are concentrated within central Tunbridge Wells in car parks and do not provide easy ‘close to home’ charging.

 

A better availability of public charging devices will promote the continued growth of EV ownership within our Borough, reduce pollution, improve air quality and decrease carbon emissions in line with the Council’s commitment to encourage a borough wide reduction of emissions by 2030. It will also be line with the objectives outlined in the Government’s ‘Road to Zero’ policy and the recent announcement of a ban of new petrol and diesel car sales by 2032.

 

The Council recognises that the draft Local Plan includes both Borough wide and site specific polices that would drive up the number of EV charging points and commits to work with KCC to explore how we can improve the number and availability of curb side charging points and how this can be funded so as to minimise the impact on local tax payers.

Supporting documents:

 

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