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Revealed | TfL has no guidance on electric vehicle charging points

Geograph 890837 by david hawgood

Transport for London’s has “virtually no” electric vehicle infrastructure placement advice in its street planning guidelines, it has emerged. 

Transport for London principal technical specialist and road safety auditor Faith Martin confirmed that TfL currently has no official guidance on how or where charging points should be placed, following several complaints about charging point placements in the capital.  

According to the National Charge Point Registry, London has around 530 electric Vehicle charging points. However, it has emerged that TfL’s street planning guidance, Streetscape, has no official guidelines on how they should be installed with regards to street planning.  

“In Transport for London we have our Streetscape guidance, but we don’t have a lot on placing electric vehicle charge points in there,” Martin told New Civil Engineer at Urban Design Group’s conference on electric vehicles. “There are two little paragraphs which are about the benefits of electric vehicles and one small mention of rapid charge points. We are looking to update this policy.” 

Although most of London’s charging points are governed by local authorities, rather than TfL road network jurisdiction, the Streetscape planning guidance is intended for use by all those “designing, building, operating and maintaining London’s streets”.  

Martin added: “It is difficult to say, but there is no official guidance [for charging points] but there is guidance for planning and street design.”  

“We do have principles for street design that we abide by to ensure a there is a comfortable amount of room on the carriageway and that it is safe - we are not going to place charge points in the middle of the carriage way.”   

Martin added that TfL was conducting more research, with updated guidelines to be released within a year.  

The Department for Transport guidelines for inclusive mobility recommended a carriageway to have two metres of space for pedestrian traffic – the minimum amount needed for two wheelchairs to pass each other – an issue for London’s narrow streets, even without bulky charging points. 

There have been several noteable examples of poorly placed charging points in London, including this one on Farringdon, which is still in place: 

These charging pillars from Source UK also proved unpopular with Green Party councillor Caroline Russel:

One Twitter user highlighed the difference in charger placement in Paris compared to London:

Alan Hayes, member of the Engineering Energy for the Future project group said that the split between some charging points being under TfL and others under Local Authorities was potentially confusing to users.

“Streetscape guidance for charging points in London is split between TfL and the boroughs,” he said. “This structure is in danger of propagating a patchwork approach to EV charging provision that could be inconvenient and confusing for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. On top of this, TfL faces the difficulty of encouraging a reduction in harmful emission vehicles in London whilst also limiting congestion caused by cars and encouraging healthier, more active forms of travel.”

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