To seek approval for the Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Strategy for the Borough.
Cabinet considered a report seeking approval for the revised Zero Emission Vehicles Strategy for the Borough.
In October 2021, Cabinet approved the revised and updated North Tyneside Transport Strategy. Its vision was “Moving to a green, healthy, dynamic and thriving North Tyneside”.One of the key principles underpinning the Transport Strategy was to reduce carbon emissions from transport.
The Strategy supported the ambition of the Our North Tyneside Plan 2021 to 2025, which committed to publishing an action plan of the steps the Authority would take and the national investment it would seek to make North Tyneside carbon net-zero by 2030. It also reflected the Authority’s declaration of a climate emergency, made in July 2019, and the aims of the North Tyneside Local Plan, which noted that, alongside encouraging everyday cycling and walking, zero emission vehicles could help to reduce carbon emissions.
The Transport Strategy contained a commitment to update, where appropriate, the specific strategies and plans which fitted within the context of the Transport Strategy. This included producing a new Zero Emission Vehicles Strategy for North Tyneside.
The proposed Zero Emission Vehicles Strategy was attached to this report as Appendix 1 to the report. This strategy aimed to support the take-up of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs, which included both pure electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles) in preference to petrol or diesel vehicles in the borough. It was important to recognise that it was not its intention to increase the number of vehicles on the roads, but to ensure that a far higher proportion of vehicles on the highway network were zero emission. Together with improvements to cycling, walking and public transport this would help to realise the Authority’s climate emergency aims.
This also complemented transport policy at regional level. The North East Transport Plan was adopted by the regional Joint Transport Committee in March 2021. Under the objective ‘Carbon neutral North East’, it committed to initiate actions to make travel in the North East carbon net zero: it also set out the intention to produce both a North East Zero Emission Vehicle Policy and a North East Road Infrastructure and Zero Emissions Strategy in the near future.
The proposed North Tyneside ZEV Strategy had been prepared with a clear eye on the national and regional context. In 2018 the Government published ‘The Road to Zero’, which sought to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of ZEVs and affirmed the Government’s commitment to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by a set date. The deadline had since been brought forward to 2030 for pure petrol and diesel vehicles and 2035 for hybrid vehicles.
As a result, it was clear that the prevalence of ZEVs was set to continue to rise and that ZEVs would ultimately replace petrol and diesel vehicles. New registrations of ZEVs were already rapidly rising: the number of EVs registered in North Tyneside more than doubled over three years (from January-March 2017 to January-March 2020), while at national level the equivalent figure showed a fivefold increase.
It was recognised that the Authority had a leadership role to play, and the Authority had already taken a number of relevant steps, such as: introducing electric vehicles into its own fleet; securing funding for pedal-powered, electrically assisted e-cargobikes for use by local businesses; and working with partners to install modern Rapid chargepoints, which could charge an EV to 80% within 40 minutes, at several of the Authority’s public car parks. Nevertheless, the Authority was not a mainstream fuel provider to the public or businesses, therefore it was not anticipated that the Authority would become the long-term default provider for EV chargepoints.
In addition, ZEVs and the charging infrastructure they required were relatively new and developing technologies. Whilst much of the focus was currently on EVs, innovation and development was happening all the time across a range of alternative fuel sources. It would be important to be ready to respond quickly to future changes and as such it was appropriate for the Authority’s ZEV Strategy, including its action plan, to be suitably flexible and responsive.
The proposed ZEV Strategy (“the strategy”) sets out the objectives and actions which the Authority would implement to support and facilitate an inclusive move to ZEVs in preference to petrol or diesel vehicles, and helped to deliver its challenging carbon net-zero commitments. The strategy would support the realisation of the aims in the North Tyneside Transport Strategy and the Our North Tyneside Plan.
The strategy set out background information regarding aspects of ZEVs. It noted that, compared with petrol or diesel vehicles, ZEVs had a lower carbon footprint; did not produce ‘tailpipe’ emissions of local air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide; and were quieter, resulting in lower noise levels. Equally, the strategy recognised that all motor vehicles emitted some local air pollutants, e.g. fine particulates from brake and tyre wear, hence while ZEVs generated considerably less local air pollution than other vehicles, walking and cycling (including cargo bikes) remained the cleanest ways to travel.
The strategy recognised that charging a vehicle at home and overnight was convenient, could be more affordable, and also had the lowest carbon footprint, as it used electricity at an off-peak time when reduced demand on the grid allowed greater use of lower-carbon electricity generation. It also noted that Government grants were available for both householders and businesses to install EV ChargePoint’s. It then summarised various challenges associated with the uptake of ZEVs, and noted that there were distinct challenges for taxi (hackney carriage and private hire vehicle), bus and freight operators in adopting ZEV technologies. The strategy noted that to be convenient and overcome ‘range anxiety’ (lack of confidence that an EV can cover a certain length of journey: particularly important for the visitor economy), it was important for the network of publicly available charging infrastructure to be not only reasonably widespread but also reliable and well maintained.
The strategy contained an action plan, which set out eight actions to be undertaken in order to deliver the aims of the strategy. Of these, five were ‘leadership’ actions, which could be directly undertaken by the Authority; the remaining three were ‘influencing’ actions, which related to matters not within the Authority’s direct control but where the Authority could assist in prompting the delivery of the action, examples of which were detailed in the report.
Cabinet considered the following decision options: to either approve the recommendations as set out in section 1.2 of the report, or alternatively, to not approve the recommendations.
Resolved that (1)the revised North Tyneside Zero Emission Vehicles Strategy attached as Appendix 1 to the report be approved; and
(2) the Director of Environment, Housing and Leisure, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment, be authorised to make amendments to the strategy from time to time to reflect the developing nature of the market for Zero Emission Vehicles Strategy.
(Reason for decision: Approval of the strategy will facilitate the delivery by the Authority of measures to support the shift from to Zero Emission Vehicles in place of petrol or diesel vehicles, which will help to reduce transport-related carbon emissions and minimise local air pollution in the borough.)