Electric car charging points ‘add to pavement clutter’
Complaints of loud humming and lights from chargers that also present obstacles for blind pedestrians
17 August, 2018 — By Samantha Booth
Councillor Caroline Russell, right, Jane Howell and resident John Hands
THE Town Hall is being urged to rethink where it places electric-vehicle charging points in residential streets.
Caroline Russell, the sole Green councillor, has received complaints about “insensitive” siting of chargers on pavements, brought in to encourage cleaner modes of transport.
Some complainants have reported loud humming and bright lights shining into their homes from chargers. Concerns have been raised from blind pedestrians about cluttered pavements.
Source London, which provides some of the borough’s chargers, helps guide councils on where to place charging points. It has already decided to remove one from Battledean Road, Highbury, after an internal audit found it did not leave enough space for pedestrians.
Cllr Russell, ward member for Highbury East, told the Tribune: “Charging points are much better placed in the road, on pavement build-outs or in car parks or petrol stations – places where cars are already parked and they are not going to get in the way of people walking around there every day.”
Cllr Russell, who supports the principle of the charging points, is to ask Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s taskforce overseeing electric vehicle charging to look at guidance for local authorities on how to implement the infrastructure.
She said: “They need to be consulting, they need to be thoughtful about where they are placed, they need to keep them off the footway.”
Jane Howell, who lives near the removed charging point in Battledean Road, is registered blind and uses a guide stick while walking. The 81-year-old said: “The more clutter there is, the more difficult it is. I will feel it and walk into it. I can hear them humming too. I don’t think they should be in residential areas.”
Cllr Russell said one resident can hear the noise from the charger through her window during the night, as well as having the green light – which means it is available – shine into her home.
The council said public consultation is not required under planning regulations. However, consultation was undertaken on all of the Source London charging points.
A spokesman for Source London said it took footpath clearance seriously and worked with the council to ensure charging points were installed appropriately.
Transport and environment chief Councillor Claudia Webbe said: “The vast majority of charging points were installed based on requests from residents wanting them on their street.” She added: “We are working with Source London and their contractor to look for solutions to reduce the level of light and noise.”
The aim was that new charging points should have an even wider clear footway width of 1.5 metres. “Islington is committed to delivering 100 electric charging points over the next year – 400 over the next four years – using a range of suppliers, not just Source London,” she said.