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Plans for EV charge points spark parking and road safety concerns in Barnet

Plans for electric vehicle charging points in High Barnet have sparked parking and road safety fears among some residents.

The council wants to install electric vehicle (EV) charging points in several streets, including The Drive, The Avenue, Salisbury Road and Union Street, as part of a drive to slash carbon emissions and make the borough net zero by 2042.

It has appointed energy company Trojan Energy to carry out the work, which is expected to take place later this year.

Information sent to residents indicate ten charging points will be installed in The Drive, including six that would be designated ‘pay by phone’ as well as permit parking. Although some residents have welcomed the plans, others have raised concerns that their parking could be reduced as people from outside the area come to charge their cars – and extra vehicles on the streets could pose a risk to schoolchildren and the elderly.

One local resident of The Drive said: “A lot of people are feeling very uneasy and fear traffic will increase, and [are concerned about] being able to park in the road, and just generally the lack of transparency [about the plans].

“I don’t understand why they are not looking at doing it in a more public place like a car park.”

Although the bays would not be designated ‘EV only’ – meaning residents with petrol vehicles would be able to park there – the resident said people from other streets could use the bays.

They added: “EV hubs will be a magnet for people who want to charge their cars. There are lots of schoolchildren in our road, and there is a school around the corner. It would change the dynamic of the road.”

The council has sent notices to residents informing them of the plans. But the resident said these provided little detail, and some neighbours had not received them. She also said residents had only had the bare minimum consultation, and she felt the plans were being “pushed ahead”.

Some residents are wondering how having a charging hub in their road would affect their home insurance policies, as several of the proposed charging points are around three metres from their properties.

Responding to the concerns, the council said residents would need to have a Trojan ‘lance’ to use the bays. It said the distribution of lances would be managed by the council, so only residents in the vicinity would be able to use them.

The town hall plans to install 793 Trojan Energy charge points across 65 streets in Barnet, as well as an additional 500 lamp column charge points to support the shift to electric vehicles.

It claims the notice was placed on the street and provided to “all materially affected residents”, who were given 28 days to make representations.

Regarding insurance, the council said the guidelines on charge point distances primarily related to domestic charge points. It added that its charge points would be covered by the council and Trojan Energy’s insurance.

The council continued: “Trojan Energy have passed all relevant electrical, and health and safety tests and are fully compliant with the legislation governing electric vehicle charge points.”

Alan Schneiderman, the council’s cabinet member for environment and climate change, said residents across the borough had been asking for more EV charge points, which are “a critical part of the infrastructure that will allow us to become a net zero borough by 2042”.

He added: “As a council that cares for people, our places and the planet, we know that to make this happen we must bring our residents with us. Residents have been given the opportunity to respond to the plans and request further information if needed.

“The majority of the charge points will also use an innovative design so that they are flat and flush with the pavement, and only those who have applied to use them will have the connecting lance to do so. This is being done so the council can help ensure the charge points are being used by residents living nearby.”

Despite the reassurances, the resident said neighbours did not feel their individual concerns had been adequately addressed after they raised them with the council, and there had been a “blanket approach to responses”.