City Science was appointed by Blackpool Council to deliver a five-year Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy, forecasting the anticipated public charging needs of cars, vans and motorcycles, in order to help the town, prepare for the transition to zero emission vehicles. This Strategy will support delivery of the actions set out in Blackpool’s Climate Action Plan, and the Council’s Climate Emergency declaration. It will also ensure that the town’s visitor economy can continue to serve the widest possible tourism market.
In 2020, the Government announced that the sale of Internal Combustion Engines and Light Goods Vehicles would be phased out by 2030, and the sale of new hybrids by 2035. Alongside this the Government are offering £500m worth of funding support through the EV Infrastructure Strategy to facilitate Local Authorities to plan and deliver local public charging infrastructure. This Strategy’s scope was to ensure that Blackpool Council was prepared for the inevitable transition to EVs, as well as contributing to supporting their wider climate goals and responding to the needs of the visitor economy.
City Science Response
Baseline Evidence Report
Our Evidence Base included a review of local and national policy and strategies, an analysis of the local and socio-economic context, and an extensive dive into the technological possibilities for EV’s and their associated infrastructure. We identified that Blackpool currently has low EV uptake and low rates of charge point provision, with vital gaps identified in publicly accessible charge points along key tourist corridors, in residential areas and a limited number of rapid charge points.
We produced an Infrastructure Delivery Report to support the Council with their vision for the successful roll out of charge point infrastructure in order to meet the forecasted demand targets. Various business models for delivery were considered. These included the identification of strategic sites for development within the Council’s influence, such as council owned car parks, and how areas experiencing high levels of inaccessibility to off-street parking could be targeted alongside the Council-led opportunities to create a network of charge point provision across the town.
To produce a bespoke strategy for the town, we embedded stakeholder engagement throughout the development of the Strategy. This included three in person workshops, followed by three virtual session and numerous 1:1s. This process provided depth with regards to understanding the needs of the local community, and enabled the identification of challenges, and associated solutions, presented by the EV transition in Blackpool through harnessing local knowledge and expertise. The emerging themes were used to inform the final recommendations presented in the EV Strategy.
Our Blackpool EV Strategy consolidated the key findings from the evidence base, infrastructure delivery report and the stakeholder engagement process. It includes a short-term Action Plan outlining 12 priority actions focusing on charge point delivery and education for stakeholders, as well as a further 23 key recommendations across energy capacity, delivery, charge point location and stakeholder engagement.
Our Strategy & Action Plan set out a clear pathway of next steps through short term priorities, providing a mechanism for reviewing and monitoring progress to ensure that Blackpool Council is doing everything it can to support the delivery of the Strategy. A town-wide consultation of the strategy will additionally take place to ensure buy-in from local residents and across the Council. Given the high degree of uncertainty around future forecasts we propose that Blackpool consider reviewing the modelling data in 2-3 years’ time to ensure it reflects policy, societal and technological changes.