Connect with us

Lifestyle

Have your say on electric vehicle infrastructure in West Sussex

Last year, West Sussex County Council asked residents what would help them make the switch to electric vehicles.

Published

on

The survey showed that lack of public charging points and range anxiety were significant factors discouraging people from switching. 

Advertisement

The council has produced a draft Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy taking into account those results and is going out to consult publicly over the next month before it is formally adopted.

Open from today (Tuesday 27 August) – Tuesday 1 October, residents, businesses and commuters into the county are being asked 16 questions to see if the strategy will help address the initial barriers and give individuals the confidence to switch to EV’s.

Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:

“Under the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2019, the Government plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles aims for all vehicles to be low emission by 2050. 

“The council needs to start preparing for this transition and support the wider county so that its businesses and residents are not disadvantaged.  

Advertisement

“Ultimately, early investment in infrastructure to support the transition from petrol and diesel vehicles to alternative fuels is critical. Long-term this will also help improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions across the county.

“With electric vehicles looking to be similar price wise to conventional vehicles in the UK as early as 2021, we want the public’s view on our draft strategy so we can make sure it’s fit for purpose. Whether you currently own or drive an electric vehicle, are considering buying one in the future, or even if you have no plans to switch, we would like to hear from you.”

All consultation responses will help shape the final Electric Vehicle Strategy before a Cabinet Member Decision is taken in December to formally adopt the strategy.

You can take part by visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk/evconsultation

If you require the survey in an alternative format, please contact the Sustainability team on 0330 222 6455 or via email at sustainability@westsussex.gov.uk. If you are deaf or hard of hearing and have an NGT texting app installed on your computer, laptop or smartphone you can contact them on 18001 0330 222 6455.

Lifestyle

With a possible 10,000+ new homes coming to Crawley how can pollution levels be maintained?

Published

on

Let me begin by saying I am no eco-warrior. I have no passion to paint up a placard and march across the country waving it around claiming we are all doomed. I am more than happy to instead drive, yes drive to the local drive-thru and pick up a meal to then watch the news of others doing the protesting.

Advertisement

But like millions of others like me I am also aware there is an issue and I almost need to be ordered into doing something about it.

We have all heard the arguments surrounding the use of the emergency runway at Gatwick including those about whether there would be an increase in pollution levels.

No doubt those against the increase in air traffic at Gatwick will use this story as another PR exercise to try to demand that it never happens, but this is a pollution story that many will not be aware of.

Crawley is, compared to other local authorities across the county, one of the smallest. In-fact it only covers 45 Sq Km but due to its commercial district and proximity to the airport has one of the largest employment densities in the country.

This obviously means that there are a lot of commuters coming in and out of the town every single day, including weekends and so it can be considered little surprise that the towns Nitrogen dioxide levels are above average.

Advertisement

DEFRA, (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs) instigated an AQMA (Air Quality Management Area) in Crawley to monitor the levels. The area, indicated in blue below shows the small area, particularly along roads, that it covers.

This was setup in 2015 however and the council have ever since been working on ways to lower the pollution levels.

BUT when you look at the latest report published by Crawley Council (click here for the report) in 2019 and in particular at the section on ‘Actions to Improve Air Quality’, there seems to be a noticable lack in awareness of where the problems lie by the suggested remedies.

An AQMA is put in place to cover a particular area for a reason. It is designated that the placement of the AQMA is that this is the area that needs most addressing. With this in mind note that the area in question is the main arterial road entry into the town. It covers the A2011 dual carriageway which leads down from the M23 and then splinters off into four main roads into and around the town.

Now look at the Councils proposals:

A local cycling and walking infrastructure plan, a local transport strategy setting out better connectivity, walking, cycling and electric vehicle infrastructure, grant funding to schools and businesses on education and more support and advice on emissions including the implementation of a free messaging service to alert local people with breathing problems of any issues.

Sounds all very good, doesn’t it? But how does any of that address the area concerned. Let me explain. Commuter A lives in Brighton. He drives up the A23 then M23 to Junction 10 where he then takes the dual carriageway into Crawley and then into Manor Royal for his work. He is not going to walk nor take his life into his hands cycling along the dual carriageway. His business may hand him a leaflet about car emissions but he has no interest in receiving an eAlert about polution so sets about his working day before he drives home to his family whose children do not go to school in Crawley and therefore get no education on the pollution problems in the town.

The point is that on paper the actions proposed sound good but in practical terms will not really address the issue. Crawley Council have been approached for comment on this.

Yes there have been some small indications that people are starting to make a difference. A few primary schools working in conjunction with Sustrans have managed to stop a few parents from driving their little ones in to school. But I did question the suggestion that it was making such a huge diffence that it warranted the embelished headline given in their recent press release.

And this is where it leads to the proposal of 10,000 new homes. Be under no illusion, the majority of them will be owned by someone with a car. This means more pollution pushed out and into the lungs of those who are already suffering here.

But we do need homes. There is huge demand and they must be built. The question is how can Crawley cope with such a huge new influx if it can’t cope with the levels it already has?

Now there has been a suggestion that the AQMA be extended across more of the town but how will this really help? All it is likely to do is to give more evidence to what we already know about the Nitrogen dioxide levels.

With everyone turning to electric vehicles in ten or so years time then a lot of this will be addressed but what about the present time?

One suggestion that has been banded around is the idea of spreading out new houses into areas that are no so built up as Crawley has become. It is certainly an idea worth consideration, particularly if areas proposed don’t have an AQMA in situ already. Just take a look at the huge open spaces around Horsham and further afield.

It was always going to be the case that people in Ifield would object to the plans for a mini town to be built next to them but when you look at the data being produced, questioned and reported on by the local authority itself then you do start to wonder what the thinking is other than a monetary one and once that idea starts to take over then you do question the ethics.

The public will get their chance to question the council about this proposed development but it’s not going to be what is asked, nor what the reponses are and to be honest not even what the final decision is that will be what to watch. It will be how whatever is decided is justfied and pollution will be a major factor in that.

But for now, protests continue and petitions will form as most of us will sit back and watch from afar, that is until we get a text alert when it gets a bit poisonous outside.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending