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Lack of EV Charging Points Obstruct London’s Green Growth

Tuesday 9 May 2023

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the London Deputy Mayor for Transport, Seb Dance and the London Assembly’s Transport Committee to address the need for the provision of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points for commercial vehicles across London.

In letters to Seb Dance and the Chair and Vice Chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee, Nick Rogers AM and Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, LCCI called for closer cooperation between the Government and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to strengthen the EV infrastructure in the run up to the 2030 net-zero target for London. With an uptick in industry demand to transition from fossil fuel vehicles to electric fleets, London needs a far greater number of EV charging points for commercial vehicles than currently envisaged.

According to Zapmap, at the end of April 2023, there were over 760,000 fully electric cars on UK roads. London must not miss the opportunity of green growth at a time when the EV industry charging market is developing rapidly across the UK.

This will also create additional difficulties for small and medium-sized businesses to transition to electric vehicles under the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) scheme which is due to roll-out towards outer London at the end of August.

Transport for London (TfL) has been effective in ensuring there are electric charging points for cars across London. However, there appears to be an expectation that the emerging electric commercial vehicles should be charged primarily at company depots.

With London returning to some kind of normality following the height of the pandemic, the demand for just in time deliveries including to manufacturing businesses in outer London suggests that the focus on charging at depots over the medium to long term may be unrealistic.

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Officer Richard Burge, said:

The Government and City Hall must work together to address the logistical issues which hinder an optimistic, profitable, and growing EV industry. Rising energy costs present challenges to commercial vehicles and a lack of EV charging points should not hinder the green growth momentum. The Mayor of London recognised that more charge points will be needed to support the transition to EVs. Alongside proper planning, the city needs robust infrastructure to ensure that the needs of all Londoners are catered for by a world class transport network which is fit for our global city”.

Head of Policy and Public Impact at London Chamber of Commerce and Industry James Watkins, said:

“The perceived focus on electric charging for commercial vehicles at depots may not reflect the realities in respect of the demands on drivers and the logistics industry. This is especially true at a time when Londoners expect next day deliveries to homes and businesses due to the nature of e-commerce. Small and medium-sized businesses in outer London are already struggling with a short-turn around time to switch to ULEZ compliant vehicles. Therefore, central and regional governments must create an environment that support an equitable but commercially viable and sustainable public charge point market. “

LCCI has identified two major transport priorities which need to be addressed for London’s transport network to flourish. First, the tensions between Government and the Greater London Authority on funding public transport must come to an end. Only a joined-up approach between central and regional government can ensure that London maintains its premier place in the global rankings of cities – thereby bringing well paid jobs and economic growth to every borough.

Second, the discrepancies with the planned roll-out of the ULEZ scheme must be addressed. The London Chamber strongly agrees with the Mayor that poor air quality leads to deaths. ULEZ must not come across as an opportunistic tax. ULEZ cannot be an incentive to change if change is not possible for many SMEs.

Further Information:

  • More information on LCCI’s call for ULEZ reforms can be found here.
  • Statistics on charging points published by TfL on Zapmap can be viewed here.