Considered – A report of the Corporate Director – Environment seeking adoption of the North Yorkshire Council Electric Vehicle Public Charging Infrastructure Rollout Strategy, including a concessionary delivery model for electric vehicle charge point (EVCP) rollout (subject to any legal requirements) and to publish the 2020 Deployment Study and 2022 strategy online.
Councillor Keane Duncan, Executive Member for Highways and Transportation presented the report, noting that it is predicted that 3,161 charge points will be required in North Yorkshire by 2030 to meet demand, with half of these to be delivered by the public sector at a cost of £10.3m. In order to achieve this, predominantly rural areas such as North Yorkshire cannot be left behind, despite barriers to overcome such as electricity grid constraints and the volume of on-street parking, with 21% of households not having access to off-street parking.
There are seven key objectives in the strategy to create a comprehensive, convenient and accessible network of charge points across North Yorkshire, making sure that all residents are able to access an EVCP, and work with employers and support measures to decarbonise fleets and roll out charge points. A transition plan will be put in place in the lead up to 2030 and beyond to ensure that those who do not immediately switch to electric vehicles (EV) are not left without a solution.
In order to fund the charging infrastructure, £2.2m has already been secured from the national Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) pilot scheme to install 70 charge points, the highest secured by any local authority in the country, topped up with £1.2m capital funding to extend the pilot scheme, providing a further 80 charge points. Looking ahead, there are further funding opportunities through the Devolution Deal net zero fund and the LEVI Capital Fund, with a potential for £8.5m capital funding available and over £500k revenue funding to fund the aspirations of the council. Huge steps have been made in the delivery of EV charging infrastructure to date, with the new strategy showing the council is ready to rise to the challenge.
Barrie Mason, Assistant Director for Highways & Transportation, noted the importance of investing in EV charge points going forwards. The Local Transport Plan sets out to achieve the net zero carbon aspirations of the council, as well as also developing more sustainable modes of travel. It is clear that even with the growth of the EV charge point network in North Yorkshire over the coming years, in a predominantly rural area, residents will still need to travel around the county in private vehicles when the ban on petrol and diesel engines in new vehicles from 2030 comes into force.
Councillor Greg White supported the proposals but asked how and when the publicly funded charge points would be delivered. In response, it was noted that nearly £3m has been secured so far, with further funding opportunities pending. It is hoped that the LEVI capital funding from government will lever in private sector funding to help deliver the forecast number of chargers. Therefore, it is expected that there would be a combination of public and private sector funding required. Various delivery models have been considered, with the concessionary based model preferred, where the investment is part funded by both the public and private sector.
The electric supply for the new chargers was also queried, as to whether the grid capacity was fit for purpose. In response, it was noted that other forms of power supply, through solar and hydro electric were under consideration. The strategy is expected to be a ‘living’ document, with more developments in EV charging technology expected as the rollout progresses. For example, an on street EV charging solution has not been decided upon yet, with proposals to be considered at a later date. Through the strategy monitoring, progress updates will be provided to monitor delivery and whether it is meeting expectations.
Councillor Bryn Griffiths welcomed the report, noting that public car parks in market towns required an adequate supply of chargers for both residents and visitors. He also highlighted working with those managing business parks, retail parks and industrial estates to install charging points, in order to support businesses and achieve larger scale developments. The planning policy for new homes and businesses would also be important to drive the growth of EV chargers.
Barrie Mason responded that the strategy planned to create residents’ charging hubs that are easily accessible, combined with high targets for measuring public satisfaction set to help in delivering high quality infrastructure. It was noted that one of the key parts of the charge point roll out will be engagement with the local community, to make the choice to switch to an electric vehicle a realistic one.
Councillor Griffiths also noted that this was a good opportunity to work with town and parish councils to build networks of chargers in more rural areas across the county. On standards for new developments, Councillor Duncan highlighted point 9 of the priority action areas around the enabling role of the council to raise awareness of the amended Building Regulations for delivering EVCPs and developing ambitious EVCP standards.
Councillor Paul Haslam sought reassurance about the distribution network operator (DNO) and the capacity of the electricity grid to cope, as well as whether it is planned that the EVCP locations will be in close proximity to sub stations.
In response, Richard Flinton spoke about a recent visit from the National Infrastructure Commission, with the current constraints of the electricity grid raised as part of this. Representatives from Northern Powergrid and local businesses in attendance and it was noted that the Council is lobbying hard and engaging with partners.
Councillor Haslam noted that he felt the return on investment and social investment could be considered more as part of the strategy. This would assist in providing measures to track the progress of the roll out against.
Resolved – That Executive agrees:
i) To note the update on the North Yorkshire Council EV public Charging Infrastructure Rollout Strategy following public consultation NYC – 2 May 2023 - Executive North Yorkshire Council Electric Vehicle Public Charging Infrastructure Rollout Strategy
ii) To approve the EV Rollout Public Charging Infrastructure Strategy, including a concessionary delivery model for EVCP rollout subject to any legal requirements identified by the Assistant Chief Executive (Legal and Democratic Services)
iii) To the publication of the 2020 EV Charging Deployment Study and the 2022 EV Rollout Public Charging Infrastructure Strategy on the NYC website.