Lack of electric car chargers ‘hindering green growth’

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry is calling on the Deputy Mayor for Transport to help upgrade its electric car charging infrastructure, or it could prevent the growth of EVs in the capital. In letters to Deputy Mayor Seb Dance and the Chair and Vice Chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee, Nick Rogers AM and Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, the LCCI highlighted a number of concerns.

It called for closer cooperation between the Government and the Greater London Authority to boost EV infrastructure in the capital.

This is especially pertinent for commercial vehicles and businesses running fleets to ensure they can successfully integrate electric vehicles.

The LCCI stated that London needs a “far greater number” of EV charging points for commercial vehicles than there currently are.

It added that London cannot afford to miss the opportunity for green growth at a time when the EV charging network is blossoming in other parts of the UK.

Richard Burge, chief executive officer of the LCCI, said: “The Government and City Hall must work together to address the logistical issues which hinder an optimistic, profitable, and growing EV industry. 

“Rising energy costs present challenges to commercial vehicles and a lack of EV charging points should not hinder the green growth momentum. 

“The Mayor of London recognised that more charge points will be needed to support the transition to EVs. 

“Alongside proper planning, the city needs robust infrastructure to ensure that the needs of all Londoners are catered for by a world-class transport network which is fit for our global city.”

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Two key transport priorities were identified through the study, with both being key for London’s transport network to flourish.

The first was tensions between the Greater London Authority and Government to improve to ensure public transport can excel.

The LCCI believes that only a joined-up approach between the central Government and regional Governments must lead the way forward.

This would ensure London retains its place near the top of the global ranking of cities, bringing jobs and massive economic growth to the area.

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The second addresses the incoming ULEZ expansion, with the London Chamber agreeing with Mayor Sadiq Khan that poor air quality leads to deaths.

However, it maintained that the ULEZ must not come across as an “opportunistic tax” and cannot be an incentive to change if change is not possible for many businesses.

James Watkins, head of policy and public impact at the LCCI, added: “The perceived focus on electric charging for commercial vehicles at depots may not reflect the realities in respect of the demands on drivers and the logistics industry. 

“This is especially true at a time when Londoners expect next-day deliveries to homes and businesses due to the nature of e-commerce. 

“Small and medium-sized businesses in outer London are already struggling with a short-turn around time to switch to ULEZ-compliant vehicles. 

“Therefore, central and regional governments must create an environment that supports an equitable but commercially viable and sustainable public charge point market.”

Data from Zap-Map shows that Greater London has almost one-third of the total number of charging points across the UK.

It has 13,436 registered chargers, with the South East of England placing second with 5,346 or 12.6 percent of the market share.

While Greater London has by far the highest population in a concentrated area, it has more than double the number of chargers as Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales combined.

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