Environment chief reassures residents over electric charging points

Source London charging points in Islington. Photograph: Stephen McKay.

Islington Council’s environment chief has vowed to remedy any pavement cluttering caused by the roll-out of electric vehicle charging points.

Residents complained in July that some of the points are sited in a way that makes them difficult to navigate for blind pedestrians.

But at a full council meeting on 20 September, Cllr Claudia Webbe (Lab, Bunhill), executive member for environment and transport, reassured residents that the Town Hall will be taking action to ensure the borough’s pavements remain clear.

Cllr Webbe said: “Islington is facing an air pollution crisis. This public health problem is a life or death situation.

“That’s why I’m pleased that Islington is leading the way in rolling out electric vehicle charging points as part of our efforts to encourage local people who require a car to switch to more stable and environmentally-friendly options.

“By 2022 we would be hoping to install an extra 400 electric charging points across the borough. We do so unashamedly.

“We do so to help tackle the harmful particulates produced by engines that pollute our air and reduce our residents’ health and quality of life.

“However, you’re right. We must ensure that our footways remain accessible and navigable for all pedestrians, and I’m aware that some charging points have not been ideally positioned, creating restrictions for some residents who may not feel confident navigating the pavement.

“Therefore, we are currently investigating the potential for remedial work at some of our locations to improve pedestrian access on a number of roads.”

Cllr Webbe was speaking in response to quizzing from resident John Gabriel on a narrowing of pavement space on Melgund Road, where a charging point has been installed by contractors Source London.

Gabriel had challenged the Town Hall on the installation of the chargers, saying that allowing Melgund Road residents to have narrower pavements than other streets in the borough resulted in “a two-tier set of rights, which is not fair or defensible”.

Cllr Webbe agreed with residents, saying the Melgund Road charging point was “not suitable or located correctly” and confirming it will be one of four charging points across the borough that will be removed completely.

The meeting also saw councillors sign up to an agreement delegating the Town Hall’s authority over any future charging point network in the capital to the London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee (LCTEC), which would manage any such scheme on behalf of local authorities.