A councillor has called for a cautious approach to installing electric vehicle charging points in Lichfield.

Electric car being charged

The issue was discussed by members of Lichfield District Council’s cabinet as part of a debate around a new car parking strategy for the city.

The document outlines plans for increased electric vehicle charging points as part of long-term city centre development proposals.

But Cllr Angela Lax, cabinet member for regulatory, housing and health, said the council should not rush into the installation of such facilities.

Angela Lax
Angela Lax

“Every time this comes up we are told we must have more.

“I approve of not rushing in – let’s see what the demand is and how it works out rather than just putting them in for the sake of having them in and then saying we’ve got them.

“Let’s be careful in how we proceed so we do it at the right time in the right way, because phone charging was a right mess for ages in the early days.”

Cllr Angela Lax, Lichfield District Council

But other members of the cabinet said the council could not afford to drag its heels on the introduction of more provision for electric vehicles.

Cllr Rob Strachan, cabinet member for finance, said:

“If we are identifying demand through survey then that will always lag behind the demand that’s driven by the environmental situation and the planned petrol and diesel phase out by 2030.

“To increase the points in our car parks is positive, but I would encourage planning for a far wider installation.”

Cllr Rob Strachan, Lichfield District Council

Cllr Richard Cox, cabinet member for community engagement, also said holding back would see the local authority left behind.

“I do differ in opinion with Cllr Lax on the electric vehicle charging points.

“If we’re not careful in bringing that forward that we could fall back behind the curve rather than be ahead of it.

“Demand will only be greater in future so I would urge that we don’t drag our heels and just wait and see.”

Cllr Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council

“We’ve got to get it right”

The meeting also heard calls from Cllr Lax for consultation with other areas where electric vehicle charging points have been installed.

“We’ve got to get it right in terms of linking use of electric vehicle charging to charging for parking.

“People were going into Birmingham when it started and sitting in the charging points as a cheap form of parking.

“After I approached a chap he told me he’d driven in to plug in for free parking all night in Birmingham.

“It’s not just a case of putting them in, it’s quite a complex thing and we’ve got to get it right.

“Let’s look at how other cities have done it and what really works and is effective rather than just put them in to boast that we’ve got loads there.”

Cllr Doug Pullen, leader of the council, said he was keen to ensure the city had the correct infrastructure to serve the needs of drivers of electric cars in future.

Doug Pullen
Doug Pullen

“We have committed to keeping up with demand with electric vehicle charging points.

“There are a number of technologies and what we don’t want to to do is spend a fortune on the wrong infrastructure that’s immediately outdated because we’ve backed the wrong horse.

“We’ll absolutely use best practice from elsewhere.”

Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District Council

50 replies on “Councillor urges cautious approach to installation of electric vehicle charging points in Lichfield”

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  1. Let’s put it simply: people are buying more electric cars than ever before (fact.) If these owners want to visit Lichfield from further afield and need to plug in for their return leg and the facility doesn’t exist here, they’ll go somewhere else for the day. That’ll negatively affect businesses in Lichfield who rely on visiting trade.

    Stop dragging your heels – electric cars are only going to get more popular as we get closer to 2030. Do something about it now.

  2. This is an absurd position to take. One of the reasons people give for not changing to an electric vehicle is the lack of infrastructure. Once the charging points are available, demand will increase.

  3. The council declared a climate emergency and yet Cllr Lax urges caution because phone charging was “right mess for ages in the early days” and some bloke she once met parked for free whilst charging his car? It would be laughable if the threat posed by climate change wasn’t so real and urgent. Following on the heels of the debacle regarding the installation of electronic displays in the bus station this shows just how abjectly the council are failing in their commitment to take meaningful action on climate change.

  4. No more “Blah, blah, blah”. The council needs to get its act together. There is no more time to waste sitting on the fence making excuses for not tackling what is now a climate emergency. The younger generation cannot afford the luxury of “wait and see”. If you can’t step up to mark on this crisis, then you need to step down and let someone more competent do the job.

  5. Anecdotal reasons and a lack of standards with phone charging (?!) are not a valid reason to delay. Innovate for the city; don’t hesitate because you want some other city to tell you how to plan effectively.

  6. There’s already plenty of free overnight parking in Lichfield, so I don’t think that should be a concern. An all-electric car park opposite the train station would create demand. There’s no need to wait for evidence that the demand is there first. If the facility is abused by people using it in a way that was not intended, appropriate parking charges could be introduced to discourage such behaviour (I don’t mean fines, except for non-electric vehicles, just sensible charges). Lichfield should be leading the way, not sitting at the back waiting to see how others are doing things.

  7. I had a home charger installed for my EV; but I did get a lock to stop random strangers driving up to use it while I’m out. Otherwise, the transition to electric’s been brilliant and really easy to manage.

    But the real issue isn’t people like myself who have their own off-street parking, and somewhere to install a home charger – it’s people who live in houses or flats who have to park on the street, or don’t have a designated parking space, or somewhere to install their own charger. They’ll need improved public or shared infrastructure to manage the transition by 2030; which is less than 10 years away, last time I checked.

  8. Why is our Council so pathetic? What’s happened to this place? We need more sensible people to step forward as a candidate at the next election. Get these incompentents whose only plan for this city is to build houses everywhere out!

  9. I don’t know, electric vehicle charging, digital bus signs…some of the out of touch Cllrs must be terrified of the technology…
    I would recommend Cllr Pullen looks at Birmingham or TfL as models of charging roll outs.
    It would also be an excellent idea to install charging points near to the massive housing developments and encourage builders to incorporate them into plans. Give it a decade, they will be basic utilities people will look for, like broadband quickly became.

  10. Ask Sheffield Councillors who are much more up to date. There residents with electric cars can apply for a permit for free parking. How innovative!

  11. The council needs to act now! You need to install chargers that are contactless payment (not an app – because all us EV drivers have too many different apps already – very inconvenient). It could even be FREE!!! Why not engage with companies such Osprey or Instavolt. They install for free and handle all the payments etc.

  12. I’m starting to question if these Cllr can even manage to get themselves dressed ! how inept and clearly uncapable do you need to be as a Cllr in Lichfield. At least once a week do we have reported to us another ridiculous statement or comment from outdated and out of touch Cllr’s dithering around issues that they don’t understand to comprehend… its really not that difficult. I promise its not !
    We must vote and remove these people, I’m sure they are all decent people and no doubt well intentioned but just sadly lacking in the all right abilities to move Lichfield forward in a way that works for residents/businesses/visitors etc

  13. Lax by name, Lax by nature! Get with the times! The evidence for demand is already there, and the many benefits that come with having accessible charging points must be attractive for the district!

  14. As a local who can charge at home, I personally will get no benefits from chargers in the city, however, what about business travellers and tourists to the area, what about Lichfield residents who cannot have chargers installed at home…

    Lichfield is an embarrassment when it comes to it’s green credentials and encouraging commerce into the city, let alone not supporting its residents.

    We have no rapid chargers in the city and no plan to support the governments strategy to stop selling combustion engine vehicles by 2030.

    Birmingham City Council announced 3000 public electric vehicle chargers yesterday in support of the government strategy and its clean air zone, it’s time for our local councillors to pull their fingers out in the same way.

    https://j99news.com/2021/11/10/the-birmingham-city-council-cabinet-adopts-a-12-year-strategy-for-electric-cars/

  15. Every time I read this article I get more frustrated

    “Let’s see what the demand is” – Every new vehicle sold in 2030 will be electric. As it stands new vehicle registrations in 2020 was 10%, demand is currently standing at 40%. Plug in vehicle sales are increasing by 140% year on year.

    https://www.statista.com/topics/2298/the-uk-electric-vehicle-industry/

    “because phone charging was a right mess for ages in the early days.” – what has phone charging got to do with electric vehicle charging, everyone can charge their car at home or plug it into their car to charge while driving, this has nothing to do with electric vehicles.

    Maybe we should have a public meeting where our councillors can justify their lack of progress to those of us who are trying to make a positive impact on climate change and explain why they are stopping folks who can’t have a home charger from doing the same.

  16. Most people cannot afford new cars never mind electric cars. This is all about the elite. Not wishing to sound in support but why should the rich get free parking and free EV?

  17. Bunch of luddites. The need for public chargers is here and now and we need to put in the infrastructure. The public chargers at Coop and Tesco are always in use so waiting to see what the demand might be or the bizarre justification based on mobile phones is ridiculous. Lichfield was one of the leaders in recycling household waste but sadly we have lost that sense of innovation and have a bunch of gormless councillors who lack any sense of urgency to provide the infrastructure that we need for the future.

  18. Michael Hunt (lol) in 9 years time there won’t be anything other than EVs being sold here. They are the future for motoring. It’s not free parking & last time I looked, you pay for what you use.
    Tesla incentivised with free charging at first, but they don’t anymore.
    Anyway, to encourage visitors to the city, to help car owners make the switch, this needs to happen.

  19. @Michael Hunt. It’s not about an elite. It’s about all of us. EVs will be the only kind of car you can buy soon, and there will still be plenty of non-EV parking spaces (far more than EV ones) for those who still drive a petrol/diesel car (as I do myself, although it’s now on its last legs). An all electric car park (just one) in Lichfield would be an attraction for commuters and shoppers (a unique selling point). EV parking does not have to be (and is not generally) free. That might be a novel way of attracting people to begin with, but owners already have to pay a premium for charging their vehicles publicly, and eventually it should be priced the same way as any other parking.
    Given the crisis the world is facing, it is also possible that fewer people will have their own cars in future, even the relatively well off, so cheap, environmentally friendly public transport is also something planners should be planning for, the sooner the better. Decent, safe cycle paths are also something local authorities should be giving us now. If there were one between Burntwood and Lichfield, I for one would use my bike more often.

  20. How much does a home charger cost to install on top of the cost of the car. What happens when just like phones cars have different plugs, wife’s car has a different plug so are two chargers needed. Answers on a postcard please

  21. Shame there wasn’t such a mindset when it comes to concreting over our green belt.

    Coupled with the bus signage farce this council is beyond useless.

    What’s next I wonder a congestion charge🤔🤔🤡🤡🤡

  22. This is a typical LDC approach to everything. These archaic councillors somehow elected by us are so firmly stuck in the past and resistant of change its actually quote amusing. If this was a ship, we’d have mutiny.

  23. If all the energy from petrol and diesel has to be replaced by equivalent electric power then ergo it will require the same amount of energy. It will also require more infrastructure to deliver it.
    Will that amount of power be available? At what cost? Will all new builds and estates have built in points?
    This is not a simplistic proposition. The council will be involved in momentous changes. Not wanting any inconvenience will be the least of their problems. They should start by bolstering the public transport system as this will likely become more relevant again.

  24. Its very concerning that someone with such a lack of vision should be in charge of regulation, housing and health in our district. If she holds such blinkered views on EV chargers what hope is there to see the Council giving leadership on the vital decarbonisation of housing?

  25. Unfortunately there is always one councillor who makes a silly comment. They are the ones who are reported, but not the sensible remarks from the other councillors. Hopefully she will be over ruled.

  26. Ah, ML… Forgive me, but Dr Johnson would no doubt have thought it a wonder of the internet age that the modern era allows anyone to publicly display their blissful ignorance of the topic of their choice – in your case electric vehicles – without fear of embarrassment.

    A 7 kW home charger, easily sufficient for most people, can be had for roughly £500 (after government subsidies); universal chargers only cost slightly more than a vehicle-specific charger. The overwhelming majority of electric vehicles use a standardised plug; adapters are available for the small minority that don’t. It takes me 2 to 2 1/2 hours to charge at my home charger at the end of each work day (using about 45% of the battery charge on a daily commute to and from work of just over 75 miles).

    This isn’t the back of a postcard, but this link might help: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/new-and-used-cars/article/electric-car-charging-guide/electric-car-charging-at-home-aPmMW7E7bVCn

  27. I’ve got a suggestion for Cllr Lax to consider maybe we should turn the city into a great big scaletrix track, then we won’t need electric points (just a plug in her front room and a long extension lead) the kids will have something to play with because there’s no leisure facility and they’ll be no accidents (unless you go too fast into the chicane) – only flaw with this is we’ll never get out of the city!

    When will this Nokia 3310 ‘out of date with the times’ councillors get acquainted with modern times and realise that more, much more is needed for bloody obvious reasons

  28. Friarsgate new sports centre, electronic sign and now electric car charging points just another cockup by our council.
    Let’s not waste money they say, see above.

  29. These dinosaurs have really got to go. Clear them all out and replace with young innovative people who can relate to the population and the city’s needs.

  30. No electric car charging points, no electronic displays at the bus stop. Are our councillors a little scared of this new fangled electricity stuff?

  31. LDC are so myopic & deaf to reality, merely talking to themselves, they come across as incompetent. Time for a big laxative at next election. The lack of forward real policy is staggering. Far better to concentrate on what is going on with Friarsgate. It appears the public want a Sports Health & Community Centre with gym, fitness, etc. The only ones who want to take away more green space for this are the same deaf to reality folks talking to themselves in Frog Lane.

  32. So sahure £500 is a small sum to you ,you are living in a different world to me. This is typical of the younger generation basically sod the pensioner on a fixed income

  33. Lichfield is a beautiful historic city with plenty of attractions.

    Maybe we should add the Frog Lane dinosaur Park to the velum publicity scrolls?

  34. @ML: Pensioners have free bus passes, something which younger people don’t have, although plenty of younger adults can’t afford cars and have to rely on buses for work, study etc. Public transport is going to be a vital part of the package for tackling climate change for everyone, and it would be great to see pensioners making more use of their free bus passes.

    But this is about a lot more than the money. People’s lives are put at risk by climate change. Already, pollution is killing people in this country. I have had the awful experience of being in resus watching my teenage daughter struggling to breathe with a severe asthma attack, and the doctors battling just to keep her alive. One of the triggers for her asthma is air pollution.

    And the people who are really going to pay the price for our reluctance to modify our lifestyles to combat climate change are the younger generation. You would do well to remember that.

  35. Once again the council cannot see what is happening. The Tesla 3 was the most purchased car last year.. People are moving into electric vehicles and the government are banning petroleum and diesel cars being produced by 2030… Yet Lichfield council want to wait and see if there is demand.. Unreal..

  36. Clare Shill where I live in the Lichfield district we have 5 buses a day,some to Lichfield some to Walsall. As for Saturday and Sunday when they might be useful there are none. Get your facts straight it does help

  37. Clare I go to a local gym, it is at a school and parking is difficult due to school children turning up in cars and filling the car parks,again check your facts

  38. Powerful argument well presented Clare Sholl. Even with the concerns about the total environmental impact of electric cars, they are the best chance to reduce atmospheric pollution given the increasing level of car use. There is also the challenge of reducing car use as our roads are in gridlock more and more of the time. There may be a temporary reduction due to the cost of them, but this won’t last long, so important not to lose sight of the need for increasing provisions for walking and cycling, something that councils seem to have gone quiet about in recent times.

  39. Sarah Landon, that comment wins the Internet for me today – I’m not sure the councillors even have mobile phones. I think they’d be happy with carrier pigeons.

  40. It’s a pity electric cars are, presently, beyond the reach of the average consumer. The Tesla 3 is just over £40,000 and does not figure in the top ten cars for yearly sales although it was top in September largely because chip shortages reduced supplies of affordable alternatives.
    We need affordable vehicles, effective charging points (well researched and future proof), and more importantly an integrated, efficient public transport system.

  41. All these carbon saving sacrifices presume they will make a difference. Just let’s get this clear, we are not talking about a reduction of the current situation (ie -1.5 % reduction of temperature), we are attempting to keep future temperatures to +1.5% of the current situation.
    Currently we have floods, fires and drought. The ice fields are disappearing. Weather is progressively extreme and unpredictable.
    Even if by 2030 we achieve the rises target it will still be a massive deterioration in the present position. It is a bit like saying ‘we can’t stop you bleeding to death but we might slow it up a little!’
    If we realistically want to save human existence then agreeing policy that makes it worse is not going to do it. Lastly, although China, America, and Russia (amongst others) are holding us to some sort of global blackmail, they will be just as dead as a consequence.

  42. @ML: Yes, we all have to deal with less than ideal bus services, only younger people then have to also pay for that less than ideal service – my point being that better (and cheaper) public transport for everyone will be part of how we tackle climate change.

    As for you struggling to park at a gym at a school, I’m not sure what your point is exactly. People with children have the same right to drive as anyone else. My own children always walked to primary school and use the bus to get to secondary school at considerable cost to my family. I would like to see school children given free bus travel here the same as they are in London, maybe then there would be fewer issues with parking near schools.

    Climate change is real; the effects of pollution are real; and young or old, we are all going to have to acknowledge those facts and accept change if we are to successfully overcome the climate emergency.

  43. Clare I refer to children who go to school in their own cars or more than likely mummies car and park all day not getting dropped off. Read the words not what you think was put. I hope you get old one day and become one of the pensioners you seem to despise

  44. Currently electric vehicles are beyond the purchasing power of 90% of the adult population (including us). The dearth of decent ‘public’ transport (mostly foreign companies), the unwillingness to promote ANY cycling lanes (e.g the 3.5 miles from Burntwood to Lichfield) are all factors in why people don’t use alternatives to petrol cars. Facile solutions blaming those who can’t afford electric are just as facile as some nutritional microactions.

  45. The existing charging points in Lichfield are pretty much in constant use often by the same vehicles, it’s simple to quantify the demand based on existing usage.. it’s also easy to impose an escalating rate per KW/h or charge to consume the electricity so the council generates revenue and make the installation capital investment cost neutral.. on the back of COP in Glasgow this feels poorly timed and flawed reasoning at best by the councillor concerned.

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