PAUL LUSHION, our environment correspondent, on a disappointingly feeble effort to offer wide-ranging infrastructure for battery-powered vehicles
The inconsistent commitment from Croydon Council – the backers of Gatwick airport expansion, the funders of an industrial-scale waste incinerator on the borough boundary – to improving the environment and reducing pollution has been brought into question again this week following an announcement of the installation of public charging points for electric vehicles “currently being installed across Croydon”.
What bright spark came up with that “across Croydon” claim?
In total, just eight charging points are to be installed at three locations. All three locations are around a mile’s stroll from the Town Hall.
The council boasts of plans to install 400 charging points, which they say will be done by 2022. Though at a rate of just eight per year, it could be 2069 before all 400 new car plugs are available to the people of Croydon.
By that time, council leader Tony Newman will be flying off to his Mediterranean holidays with his big mate Paul Scott by taking a solar-powered aeroplane.
Without adequate infrastructure to support the use of more eco-friendly cars, the take-up of battery-powered vehicles or hybrids is likely to stay stuck in the slow lane.
The sites chosen by the council for the latest eight car plugs are Colson Road, off Addiscombe Road, Edridge Road in the town centre, and Tavistock Road in West Croydon. It is hardly a broad geographic spread of the facilities.
The council said this week, “Specific locations are chosen following approaches by residents or businesses and are designed to help deliver a borough-wide network of charging points as well as support zero and low emission transport initiatives.”
Stuart King, the cabinet member for air pollution and busy roads, is supposed to have said something about “ambitious plans to promote wider use of electric vehicles”. Just don’t expect to be able to charge your electric-powered car if you happen to be driving through Norbury or Coulsdon any time soon, though.
King said, “We are determined to make sustainable journeys across Croydon easier than ever before and a key part of that is expanding our green infrastructure to meet growing demand for it.” Eight plugs. In three locations.
“We are committed to working with communities to tackle air pollution.” From the council backing Gatwick and paying £10million a year for the Beddington Lane incinerator.
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