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The Future is Electric

January 2, 2018 8:52 AM
By Chris Wrathall

What is Ipswich Borough Council doing to reduce toxic vehicle emissions?

The Council has stated in its 2017 Air Quality Status report that "The annual health cost to society of the impacts of particulate matter alone in the UK is estimated to be around £16 billion". The town has four Air Quality Management Areas, where there have been high levels of Nitrous Oxide, or NO2.

Poor air quality is one of the defining hazards of our time and is a cause of premature death.

Defra states: "Road transport is still by far the largest contributor to NO2 pollution in the local areas where the UK is exceeding limit values. Addressing road transport emissions therefore presents the most significant opportunity to tackle this specific exceedance problem."


In light of this, the government has announced plans to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. This has the potential to eliminate them as a source of NO2 in our towns and cities, and while there is still the question of NO2 production at power stations, this can be managed, captured, and in any event, located geographically away from population centres.
Given that we are heading towards a future of Hybrid Electric and Pure Electric vehicles, at some point between now and 2040, we will have to invest in the required infrastructure (charging points, etc) to support this. It makes sense to be ahead of the curve and invest now, while Ipswich can benefit from grants and schemes that may otherwise have dried up by the time we are forced to invest.

In addition, we could, via local planning policy, require builders to provide infrastructure on new developments, thus avoiding the potential future cost of retrofitting the infrastructure in a few years' time.
The Ipswich Liberal Democrats have a Focus Group that has been investigating and discussing the opportunities for developing extensive Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructures in the town. The Group has concluded that investment in the near future by Ipswich Borough Council in appropriate EV charging infrastructures would be both beneficial and cost-effective.
The Focus Group therefore proposes the following specific measures, that would aim to ensure a rapid, fair and sustainable distribution of EV infrastructure:

• Ipswich Borough Council to fit EV chargers to a percentage of all council owned parking spaces.

• Ipswich Borough Council to require builders of large commercial properties to have a provision for EV charging as a condition for planning approval, e.g. chargers at supermarkets, shopping centres, workplaces, etc.

• Ipswich Borough Council to require builders of residential estates over a certain size to provide for future EV charging at home by the residents.

• Ipswich Borough Council to investigate options for providing "on street" residential charging infrastructure to our terraces where off street parking is not available. (This is being trialled in London via lampposts, at a cost of approx. £1,000 per lamp post. Certainly we should not be installing new lamp posts without such provision at this point.)


We want to know what other Ipswich residents think of these proposals. Should IBC be doing more to improve air quality? Should they adopt the above measures? Do you have other ideas? We look forward to reading your reactions.

Ipswich Liberal Democrats Air Quality Focus Group


December 2017

EV charge sign (Thanks go to Wouter.robers for the EV charge sation sign)