A panel of Bracknell councillors have heard about how climate change can be tackled by the roll out of electric and low emission vehicles in the area.

During a virtual meeting, councillors heard from a leading officer, electricity company staff, and developers about what can be done to facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) in Bracknell Forest.

The meeting started with a presentation by Neil Matthews, Bracknell Forest Council’s assistant director of transport and highways.

He spoke about the national picture, with the Government banning the sale of any new cars or vans wholly powered by petrol and diesel in 2030.

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Between 2030 and 2035 new cars and vans will be expected to drive a significant distance with zero emissions, and in 2040, the sale of non-zero emission HGVs will be banned.  However, much of this will be subject to consultation.

He then said the council has successfully been able to apply for Government funding to install 32 public electric vehicle charging points, which is in addition to the 20 charging points Bracknell Forest Council has already provided, and the 20 provided by commercial operators.

Councillor Tony Virgo (Conservative, Winkfield & Cranbourne), the chairman of the committee asked whether the council could be a co-ordinator to work with towns and parish councils, and whether electric vehicle charging could be implemented for people without drives.

Mr Matthews replied: “Certainly it’s essential that any public body is sharing information with its counterparts because it’s a complex issue and we’re all in it together, it’s important to recognise each individual chargepoint is its own business case, therefore it’s very difficult to establish a fixed model for who and how and where because its based on the offer you can achieve with a chargepoint provider.

“While I don’t think there’s necessarily a place for a uniform standard yet, I agree we need to work together.”

Bracknell News: Neil Matthews, assistant director of highways and transport at Bracknell Forest CouncilNeil Matthews, assistant director of highways and transport at Bracknell Forest Council

He added that for people without off-street parking, the wider network of chargepoints would be able to serve those drivers “a little later in the journey”.

Bryan Puzskar, customer relations manager for SSEN, presented on pressures to the electricity network and uptake of heat pumps to warm homes.

The councillors also heard from developers Bloor Homes about how electric vehicle charging is being factored into new homes and what challenges developers face.

The presentation was given by Rebecca Fenn-Tripp, Bloor Homes planning director for the southern region, and Barry Groves, design and technical manager.

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Rebecca said: “From our point of view, what we would really like to see is more consistency and clarity, and if the Government could introduced a standardised approach, we would be much more supportive and we would encourage that.”

Mr Groves said that all homes built by Bloor Homes are designed for ‘on plot’ electrical vehicle charging. Customers can have a fully installed electrical vehicle charger at their home at ane extra cost. Of the 4,075 homes that had people move in, 507 customers (12.4 per cent) chose this option.

Bloor Homes currently has developments in Popeswood, Arborfield and Shinfield.

The discussion lasted for two-and-a-half hours, and anyone interested can watch a recording of it here:

This was the second meeting of the Climate Change Advisory Panel that was founded in June.

Although the panel has no official powers, it can make recommendations of policies to the council’s executive.

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These panels can make an impact. The executive recently accepted the finance overview and scrutiny panel’s recommendations to improve the council’s Blue Badge process, and the executive accepted the environment overview and scrutiny panel’s recommendation on introducing food waste collections to up to 1,800 flats.

The climate change meeting was held on Monday, September 20.