October 2023: Opinion

More on-street EV charging needed

 IN response to the article in the September Bishopston Voice about EV charging at Waitrose, I do support the 90 minute limit. I do understand the frustration of Westbury Park residents, but their issue arises from a lack of investment in infrastructure. 

I am the owner of a hybrid car. I live in Bishopston, with no off street parking and I am also extremely frustrated by the lack of chargers across the city. However, the time limit at Waitrose does ensure that customers are able to access the slow chargers while shopping. These chargers provide an invaluable and reliable power top-up for me each week.

The real issue here, is that at both a national and local level, government has not planned infrastructure development sufficiently ahead of the move to EV vehicles. WECA has put in a bid for government funding to test on- street chargers. Funded by this bid, B&NES has agreed to trial three pavement channels which will allow households without off-street parking, to charge safely at home. However, the result of this trial is 18 months away. The pressure needs to be on all the authorities within WECA to agree to the outcome of this trial and to start planning now for a rollout as soon as the results are agreed. 

Around 37% of Bristol properties, against a UK average of 33%, do not have off-street parking (source: B&NES planning paper E3451). Enabling safe on-street charging will significantly accelerate the availability of convenient charging as well as improving equality between EV car owners.

I want Waitrose to continue their time limit in order to maximise access. The pressure actually needs to be on local government to increase both public chargers and the implementation of a range of on street charging facilities.

Airlie Fife

BS7 reader

Overnight is smart

time for electricity 

I am one of the group of residents you mention in your September article about EV charging at Waitrose who were pleased to see a number of charge points installed there last autumn, but have been disappointed by the parking restrictions which Waitrose continues to apply.

I recognise there are arguments for and against Waitrose imposing a 90-minute limit on charging during store opening hours. 

However, what I don’t understand – and am really disappointed that Waitrose don’t seem willing to engage with us about – is why Waitrose can’t work with Shell and its parking management company, Britannia, to find a way of enabling people to use charge points, especially the slower 22kW chargers, on an out of hours basis.

One of the main problems which needs to be tackled, in order to encourage wider EV uptake, is that people who don’t have their own off-street parking do not currently have access to the same kind of charging convenience and cost as someone who is able to charge at home.

The “smart” times to be using the electricity grid for things like EV charging – both from a carbon and cost perspective – will often be the overnight periods when EV users who have their own charge points will be encouraged by their flexible electricity tariffs to charge.

Why can’t Waitrose make some effort to find a way of helping people who don’t have their own driveways – and there are lots of people living in Westbury Park who fall into this category – to enjoy some of the benefits of overnight charging?

Stuart Urquhart

How about a trial

removal of limit?

I AM the owner of an EV and live extremely locally to Waitrose. 

I shop almost daily at Waitrose and there are rarely more than one or two cars charging on the 7-bay provision. Not only is this a shameful waste of car spaces but it strongly indicates that these chargers could work much harder for their living (reaping richer rewards for Shell and, in turn, Waitrose).

It is also shameful that Waitrose is not supporting the very community it serves, and who serve it with a high level of footfall and therefore profits at this store. When these chargers were first mooted, the manager indicated that they would provide a community asset. This they are not when you get a fine slapped on you for exceeding 90-minutes – hardly enough time to get a decent charge from the slower and cheaper (not that cheap!) 22kw chargers.

Large numbers of us local residents are on the threshold of buying, or have already bought, EVs only to find it a struggle to get a decent charge locally at a decent price. The time when we will all have to purchase an EV is not far off now.

There are obvious, simple infrastructure starting points, for example EV lampposts in an area where the bar to entry to EVs is not affordability, simply ‘chargeability’. These will not come soon so, meantime, Waitrose is our only stop gap.

It is a ‘no brainer’ for Waitrose to lift the 90-minute restriction. Perhaps they could do this for a
3-month experimental period to see the effect. My hunch is that there would not be queues of frustrated EV owners lining up waiting for a charge. Rather, Waitrose would be serving its immediate (and very supportive) community properly … and raking in more profit to boot!

I call on Waitrose to abandon their time limit in order to maximise access.

George Lewis

Westbury Park

We don’t want this giant 5G mast 

I am writing to express my deep concern about the recent installation of 5G Masts in our community, particularly the one near the school and care home in Westbury on Trym. 

In numerous cases across the country, residents have found themselves uninformed about the erection of these masts. There has been a noticeable absence of any prior notification or even the placement of a poster on a nearby light pole to inform the community about this significant change.

The local residents of Westbury on Trym strongly object to this towering 65ft 5G mast being erected near the school and care home. The proximity to these sensitive areas raises concerns about potential health and safety risks for the students and residents.

Our community deserves transparency, and it is imperative that we engage in an open dialogue to address the concerns of the residents.

Westbury resident