Agenda item



The Committee received a report which set out a proposal to adopt an Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy for Carmarthenshire.  The proposed strategy, presented by the Cabinet member for Environment, contained 13 key policies specific to Carmarthenshire which would help the future development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the County to support the delivery of carbon reduction targets.


The report outlined that the strategy and development of the infrastructure aimed to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles for businesses, residents, and visitors.  In addition, the strategy would allow for a structured evidence-based network to be created that would demonstrate a commitment to meeting net zero targets by 2030 and 2050.


It was reported that, should the Authority decide not to adopt the strategy it would leave the county vulnerable to losing out on future funding from Welsh Government and inhibit the delivery against the net zero carbon objective. With no strategy in place for this fast-moving area and with the ban of petrol and diesel cars in 2030 there was a danger of not being able to facilitate and encourage a charging network that would support all residents, businesses and visitors.


The following comments/queries were raised on the report:-


·       It was asked, if the use of electric bikes could be added to the 13 key policies?  The Officer for Transport Planning - Strategy and Infrastructure explained that the provision of shelter and capacity to charge up to 10 e-bikes was or would soon be available at Carmarthen Leisure Centre, Amman Valley Leisure Centre, Llandovery Leisure Centre, Beacon, Eastgate, Pembrey Country Park, St Catherine’s Walk – Carmarthen and Pendine.  The use of these facilities for e-bikes at these locations would be free to use with Carmarthenshire County Council or third parties covering the energy costs.  It was explained that currently this Strategy had concentrated on cars and light vehicles only and that a separate strategy would be required for freight. The Head of Transportation and Highways added that whilst this strategy had concentrated on those vehicles that would be impacted by the significant changes in the near future, he acknowledged the growth in the use of e-bikes and would consider including within the strategy.


·       The Officer for Transport Planning - Strategy and Infrastructure, in response to a query raised regarding the charging facility in Crosshands, confirmed that there were four 50kw rapid charges for light vehicles and one 150kw super rapid charger available for use within the Crosshands facility.  In addition, as the site provision was available for expansion, the usage would be monitored and should there be a requirement to expand the ability to do so was available.


·       Reference was made to the scheme to place charging facilities within public locations, a query was raised as to who pays for the electric, the customer or the supplier?  The Officer for Transport Planning - Strategy and Infrastructure explained the current process in relation to applications and funding to install a charging facility for public use. The use of the charging facility would paid for by the customer by card or via an app.  Should community halls wish to seek funds to install charging facilities themselves to generate an income stream, it was explained that specific grants were available from the Office of Zero Emission Vehicles.


·       Following an observation raised that the majority of charging facilities were located within towns, it was asked if there were any plans to locate charging facilities in rural villages?  The Head of Highways and Transportation stated that the strategy to date was to place charging facilities in rural areas that are within close proximity of the principal road network in order to satisfy local need as well as roads with a high volume of traffic.  Several publicly available charging facilities are currently sited within the rural areas signified on the map on page 37 of the report.  The Officer for Transport Planning - Strategy and Infrastructure informed Committee members that a list detailing the locations of the all the charging facilities that had been installed to date was available on the Council’s website.  Furthermore, Members were made aware that a further 15 installations focusing on rural destinations and Leisure Centres around the County would be completed in due course.

In relation to the availability of grants to Community/Village Halls the Officer for Transport Planning - Strategy and Infrastructure would be happy to advise and assist those who would be interested in applying.


·       In response to a concern raised that some charging points may not be suitable for disabled access, the Head of Transport and Highways highlighted that whilst early installations catered for the majority of cars/light vehicles, some sites required adaptations in order to solve access limitations.  In addition, further developments were in hand in terms of catering for the larger vehicle.  Reassurance was provided that future design now catered for disabled access which had been factored in the development of the charging hub in Crosshands.  As the market develops disabled access would be an area that would be fostered in the future.


·       A query was raised regarding the availability of the wider facilities, eg toilets and refreshments to those who wait for their vehicles to be charged and if this was factored into the location plans?  The Officer for Transport Planning - Strategy and Infrastructure confirmed that the chargers located in the Charging Hub in Crosshands were ‘rapid’ chargers which should take up to 30 minutes to full charge with the super rapid taking only 20 minutes resulting in a minimal wait.  The Director of Environment added that it was anticipated that the majority of the public would utilise the charging facilities that had been strategically located along routes with comfort facilities and at community halls as a charging boost whilst visiting the location.  The Head of Highways and Transport emphasised that this was an area that the County Council could not achieve independently, a significant investment was relied upon from the Government given the scale of the focus which was to develop the electric vehicle infrastructure.


·       Reference was made to “EV4 - to encourage use of EV’s in the fleet”. It was asked if the word encourage was the correct term to use and if something stronger would be more suitable?  The Head of Highways and Transportation explained that the Fleet Strategy was complex in that several assessments would have to be completed in terms of infrastructure, operation implications, and service needs with this in mind it was envisaged that the strategy would be brought to the Committee in Spring 2022.  The Cabinet Member for Environment added that unfortunately, the Council was unable to mandate the use of electric vehicles, however it would encourage at every possible opportunity by providing the appropriate facilities. 


·       Reference was made to “EV6 - Investigate ways to Encourage Charge Point Provision through the Planning Process”, it was asked what the planning process was in relation to the provision electric vehicle chargers and if politically there was anything that could be done in order to strengthen the process?  The Director of Environment stated that the Welsh Government would be looking into new builds both domestic and businesses as part of their Carbon Net Zero Wales Carbon Strategy, therefore the Councils planning department would not be considering this in isolation.  The Officer for Transport Planning - Strategy and Infrastructure clarified that as part of the Council’s commitment to increase the supply of affordable housing, electric vehicle charging points were included on all Council new build developments.


·       Reference was made to the table located on page 18 of the report where it stated that Fast Charging (a) need to have between 30,000 and 55,000 fast chargers available for use by 2030 (currently have less than 1% of this installed).  It was asked if the Council was confident that the remaining 99% would be installed in 8 years’ time?  The Director of Environment stated that there was a National De-carbonisation Panel formulated by the WLGA which consisted of representatives from other regions and included the Chief Executive.  In relation to the delivery of the strategy, it was heavily dependent upon the Welsh Government and the national approach.   However, it was reported that following a recent meeting with Cabinet Members, Director of Environment and Lee Waters – Deputy Minister of Climate Change, there seemed to be an expression of confidence of a financial commitment which would enable the delivery of the strategies.


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO CABINET that the proposed Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy for the Council be adopted.


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