To receive an update on active travel and electric vehicles.
The Service Delivery Manager: Strategic Transport Highway Network Management presented the report.
Significant work had been undertaken on the Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and the related strategies. The plan set out a ten-year vison for where the Council wanted to take the Borough’s walking and cycling networks and had been considered by Cabinet in July 2022. It set out an £8m plan for improving both leisure and commuter routes, bringing the whole route up to standard. Work had been started on improvements to signage, crossing interfaces, street lighting, and CCTV amongst other works.
Other active travel projects included cycle stations, a new footway sweeper, and the Telford Bike Hub.
The Council had committed to a four-year investment in active travel in 2020. A Levelling Up bid for £20m had been submitted for works on the Silkin Way and the Authority was hoping for a decision on this bid in the near future.
Members noted the importance of encouraging active travel and moving away from reliance on personal vehicles as well as the importance of making active travel accessible for all.
A question was posed regarding the implications of an unsuccessful funding bid. Officers responded to state that plans would need to change if Levelling Up funding was not secured; alternative funding would need to be found, however, with plans for the future already prepared the Council was well placed to bid for any future funding routes.
Electric Vehicles (EV)
The Council’s EV strategy had been to Cabinet in July 2022; this was a data led strategy and covered issues such as potential adoption of charging points, levels of deprivation and a targeted plan for investment in charging in the Borough.
The presentation noted that there were 37 charging points in the Borough, although this was known to be closer to 45. In addition, there were around 800 home charging installations carried out through the EVHS schemes and 55 at businesses through the WCS scheme. Both of these schemes had either ended or evolved.
In total, there were 1,613 ultra-low emission vehicles in the Borough, the majority of which were company vehicles – 930 to 683 private vehicles. An uptick in the adoption of private EV charging points had been seen, especially rapid and ultra-fast charging points.
A funding bid to the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles was being finalised to bring 50 charge points to the Council’s off street carparks. In addition to this, the Authority had commenced procurement of an EV chargepoint operator with a tender to be issued by the end of the year.
In terms of its own fleet, the Council had six EVs and had a year delay for the next six.
Following the presentation, Members posed a number of questions:
EVs still struggled in terms of mileage, were the Council’s fleet operating as hoped?
The vans should run all day when fully charged. This would be investigated if there had been suggestions that they were not.
As the Council was aware of supply issues, were they looking ahead and ordering in advance?
Forecasting work would need to be undertaken.
Members noted the need accessibility to be considered when planning chargepoints. Members also noted the prohibitive cost of EVs for many and that changing technology may put many off.
Councillor T J Nelson entered the meeting after the item had started and was unable to take part in the debate and vote.
Councillor G L Offland left the meeting at 18:45. As only two Members able to vote remained, a vote on recommendations in the report was deferred to the next meeting of the Committee.