REDDITCH is taking the first steps towards building the infrastructure to support a future where electric-powered vehicles are the norm.
Its ‘Ultra-Low Emissions Strategy’ foresees a ‘comprehensive network’ of charging points across the borough so people can easily and conveniently charge their electric cars.
Air pollution is responsible for between 28,000 to 36,000 deaths a year at a cost to society of £20billion annually in the UK and the initiative comes in the wake of the government’s ‘Road to Zero’ ending the sale of new diesel and petrol cars in the UK by 2040.
However Tuesday night’s borough council executive committee meeting heard there’s currently no money in the council’s coffers to pay for new strategy and the the authority will have to compete with councils across the country for government grants to finance it.
“There is grant funding available for these strategies and a number of funding pots are available, however if we intend to bid there is a lot of competition for these grants so getting in early is essential,” borough officer Anna Wardell-Hill told councillors.
Redditch has the lowest take-up of electric vehicles in the county but despite this the strategy was welcomed by both sides of the chamber.
“This puts us ahead of the curve and it will help with our green credentials because this is the way forward,” said Coun Brandon Clayton (Con, Astwood Bank & Feckenham), portfolio holder for environmental services.
“Whether you like it or not, cars will change in the next ten years and electric cars are the way forward.”
Coun Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) while supporting the strategy asked what positive steps the council was taking to green its own vehicles, Coun Craig Warhurst (Con, Astwood Bank & Feckenham) asked how customers would pay for on-street charging while Council Leader Matt Dormer (Con, West) asked if there was sufficient power in the electricity grid to sustain it all.
However it was recognised these were early days and the strategy was unanimously accepted.