Who knew? It appears that Lambeth’s policy is to “introduce Electric Vehicle recharging bays adjacent to all of the lamp column EV charge points across the borough”. Rather like the markings on disabled parking bays. Which sort of makes sense. But these spaces can only be used by cars actually on-charge and, crucially, also have a permit for the Parking Zone in which they are located.
After all, an EV charging point embedded in the lamp post isn’t much use if a boring old diesel vehicle is thoughtlessly parked there for days on end, blocking your shiny new electric car desperate for a top up.
What isn’t clear – unless we have failed to drill down deep enough into the baffling depths of Lambeth’s website – is how many lamp column charge points, and thus reserved parking bays, we can expect to be introduced in this area.
Meanwhile another parking hazard has been introduced: presumably our parking enforcement officers now have access to software which will tell them (by reading the number plate?) if a non-electric vehicle is erroneously parked in a space reserved for an electric car in which case they can issue a penalty notice without further ado.
There are 20 lamp columns on Fawnbrake Avenue, if we have counted correctly. There is already one electric charging point outside number 10, and now another one has arrived, with little fanfare or notice to the adjoining houses.
Shall we shortly have the whole street wired up for electric vehicles?
No-one is saying. What is clear on the other hand is that the system for siting these charge points – and the corresponding reserved recharging bays – is pretty opaque. Once the list of charge points (they proceed by successive batches based on no known criterion) is agreed by the councillors, a short period of “statutory consultation” is launched by council officers.
To be fair, it must be difficult to balance the requirement for electric charging points with the actual number of electric cars arriving on our streets. But as these points can only be used by electric car users who have a permit for our Parking Zone, and as there can’t be that many electric cars in this area, we won’t need that many points at this stage. So, numbers of points and siting are important.
Meanwhile, how is one to know about this “consultation” process? Either by assiduously reading the very, very fine print of notices published biweekly in the South London Press (which few read) or by studying an A4 notice limply attached to a lamppost where the charge point, and thus the reserved Recharging Bay are to be introduced. As in the above photo of a notice outside number 86.
We all applaud the idea of electric cars, and would welcome a widespread installation of charging points, balanced to need, within sensible distance of our homes. If you have an electric car, and more and more neighbours are thinking along those lines, more charging points are obviously highly desirable. Ultimately the introduction of electric vehicles could be the most decisive intervention to reduce street pollution and would bring other environmental benefits. We are only at the beginning of this process, one assumes.
However, the siting of these points, and consequent loss of regular parking spaces, are matters of concern to all residents. Some would love to have one near their house and others not.
It is annoying for any person not yet the proud owner of an expensive electric car whose house has been arbitrarily chosen for such a benefit. And irritating for someone with such a car who would love to have EV point near them.
Consult us, Lambeth!
So, a diplomatic public consultation seems essential to explain the formula for selecting posts for adaptation (and the consequent loss of a parking space) and gives those affected a chance to have a say. The views of everyone else should be sought to ascertain who actively wants one. A brokered solution should be possible that balances everyone’s views. There also needs to be assent to the total number of points in the street as parking is already tight and we can’t lose too many spaces.
Simply writing “Have your say” on a document lodged deep out of sight in the Council’s website doesn’t do the trick.