Six months after the launch of Westminster City Council’s Greener City Action Plan, local environment stakeholders met for an update on the council’s progress.
Councillor Heather Acton, Westminster City Council cabinet member for sustainability and parking, ran through the council’s recent work on air quality and sustainable transport at the event, which was hosted by BMW at their Park Lane showroom.
This includes the innovative work the council has undertaken with partners to promote the use of ultra-low emission vehicles.
Westminster plans to roll out resident-only electric vehicle charging and parking bays in partnership with Streetcharge, offering an accessible and affordable charging option for users.
The council will also continue to work with ZIP Car, and 43 vehicles in the 167-strong car club fleet will be converted to electric vehicles this year. It is estimated that each car club car takes 15-20 privately owned cars off the road.
Attendees also debated greener initiatives that could reach the 46,000 businesses that reside in Westminster. The Portman Estate explained their Green Club which occupiers and land-owners join to have their properties assessed to see if improvements can be made on energy efficiency. This usually delivers an average 15-20 per cent financial saving on energy usage.
Cllr Acton said: “Air quality is the number one environmental challenge for London. Westminster can be ahead of the curve on sustainability, with everybody working together to create a greener city. I am so impressed with the commitment we already have from our landed Estates, BIDs, businesses and residents.
“New initiatives must include pioneering technologies and behaviour change and, working together, these initiatives will have a huge impact on our residents, businesses and visitors.
“I am thrilled to announce that we are working with Streetcharge on the new EV pilot and my thanks to the many other people across the borough helping to deliver Westminster’s Greener City Action Plan.”
Peter Schwabach, chief executive of Streetcharge, said: “We are delighted that we are starting a pilot with Westminster City Council to enable residents to have charging points placed near their home.
“This is part of Westminster’s drive for a greener city which we are pleased to participate in. We hope that this pilot will allow a number of residents to think about making the switch to electric vehicles and we are grateful to Cllr Acton for being so supportive of the scheme.”
Marcus Wachtmeister, Head of Government Affairs at BMW Group UK said: “Electric vehicles including plug-in hybrids play a major role in making urban mobility sustainable. Their positive impact on the environment is even stronger when shared by many users, for instance in car clubs. Overcoming the current shortage of available charge points is a big challenge to the uptake of this innovative technology. We were happy to host the Westminster City Council Greener City Action Plan event at BMW i Park Lane as we believe that initiatives like this help improve the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.“
At the event we also heard from Joseph Seal-Driver, UK Director for DriveNow. He said: “We have 290 cars in London operating a flexible car sharing model. Currently 15% of these are electric vehicles but we want to grow this to help with air quality and plan to increase the number to 50% by 2025.”