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Environment boss hails ‘pioneering’ EV chargers but admits four will be removed

PUBLISHED: 14:59 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:01 25 September 2018

Cllr Claudia Webbe with a rapid electric vehicle charger. Unlike this one, a handful of the slower charger types have been built on pavements, leaving insufficient space. Picture: Islington Council

Cllr Claudia Webbe with a rapid electric vehicle charger. Unlike this one, a handful of the slower charger types have been built on pavements, leaving insufficient space. Picture: Islington Council

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Islington’s environment boss has hailed the council’s “pioneering” electric vehicle (EV) charging policies – but she conceded four pieces of equipment breach regulations and will be axed.

Cllr Claudia Webbe was questioned about the EV chargers at a full council meeting on Thursday, where she gave the go-ahead for the removal of a charging point in Melgund Road.

It comes after the council last month agreed to remove the EV point in nearby Battledean Road because it took up too much pavement space.

A member of the public, John Garbriel, said the two Mulgund Road charging points risked creating “a two-tier set of rights, which is indefensible”.

When the chargers were installed, they complied with the council’s minimum footway requirement of 1.2m. However, after the Battledean Road saga, Islington pledged all new equipment would leave a minimum 1.5m pavement space.

But the Mulgund Road chargers only leave 1.28m to walk past, and Mr Gabriel argued it was unfair for disabled people to have different rules depending on which road they live in.

Cllr Webbe said: “Islington is facing a public health crisis – it’s a health problem, a life and death situation.

“We want to ensure our footways remain navigable and I’m aware that some charging points are not in ideal locations.

“I agree with you that it’s [the Mulgund Road equipment] not suitable. It’s one of four charging points I asked to be removed and that’s what will happen.”

When pressed on the council’s partnership with Source London, a company owned by French transport giant Bolloré, Cllr Webbe said: “We as a council are rolling out electric charging points and we will work with a number of providers and expect them to work within a process.”

She later added: “We are looking at the design and the equipment that they [the contractors] are providing and trying to make sure they understand our narrow streets.

“We take on the challenge of electric charging points unashamedly – we are pioneering this agenda.”

She said harmful particulates from diesel emissions must be tackled “for our children’s future”.

By 2022 the council plans to deliver an additional 400 electric charging points in the streets of Islington.

More stories from Thursday’s meeting: p6-7.

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