A campaign for more electric car charging points in Banbury has gained momentum following a damning report which shows Hennef Way as the most polluted road in the south east.
Residents of Bath Road are calling on Cherwell District and Banbury Town Council to improve recharging provision for those without off-street parking, either at council owned sites or via regulatory requirements at new developments.
The call comes after Friends of the Earth carried out an analysis of local authority air quality reports which reveals Hennef Way as the most polluted road in Oxfordshire, and the region, when it comes to nitrogen dioxide levels.
Bath Road resident, Neil Wallis, who also works with the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, said: “I was shocked. I knew air quality in Banbury was bad but I didn’t realise it was one of the worst.
“Given the focus of what is going on in Oxford with zero emission zones, I think it’s extraordinary there isn’t a greater focus in Banbury given where we are.”
The zero emission scheme planned for Oxford would be a world first and would ban the use of diesel and petrol vehicles from Oxford city centre in phases, moving to all vehicle types across the city centre in 2035.
This means more charging points are needed.
And if Banbury is to reduce pollution levels by encouraging people to use electric cars, it too requires more charging points.
According to Zap Map, a website that allows you to find EV charging points across the UK, Banbury has a just a handful available and it is this provision the Bath Road group is trying to increase.
Neil said: “There is a great deal of momentum gathering behind electric cars and new models are becoming available with great regularity and several people down my road have electric cars and are plugging them in on their drives.
“There’s even one chap who is running a cable across the pavement which was the immediate prompt for some action.”
Neil added: “I realised that despite the air quality problems Banbury is very poorly served in terms of public electric charge points.”
Cherwell District Council says it is also planning for the future. A spokesperson said: “Cherwell District Council recognises more people will be using electric vehicles in future and we have recently welcomed three new electric vehicles to our own fleet at the Thorpe Lane depot.
“Our environmental protection team, through the planning process, is recommending to developers that ducting for electric vehicle chargers is installed in all new residences in the district.
“We are also supporting electric vehicles on our own new developments, for instance, the electric charging points that are being installed at the new Castle Quay development.”
The Bath Road group also wants developers to jump on board and has been in conversation with one house builder in the final stages of completing a town centre project.
Helen Shields, Bromford’s retirement living business manager, said: “We have installed a duct in the car park at Park Gardens, on Bath Road, so Bromford is very much EV-ready.
“In the weeks and months ahead we’ll be talking to prospective customers to establish the demand for EV charging points and we remain open-minded to the idea and know it is becoming an increasingly popular way of reducing levels of pollution in UK towns and cities.”