Electric Vehicle Charging – London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Electric Vehicle Charging – London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Our Parking Team was commissioned to produce an ‘Electric Vehicle Charging Delivery Plan’ on behalf of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH) and has now been commissioned to deliver the recommendations of the plan. The primary objective of this is to create a comprehensive electric vehicle charging network.

Delivering this includes; public consultation, locating suitable sites, surveying and designing new parking layout at the chosen locations, coordinating the various suppliers and general administration.

Improving air quality by reducing emissions from road traffic is a crucial priority in London. Dangerous levels of pollution in the air we breathe has major health implications. Providing an accessible network of electric vehicle charging points (EVCPs) will play a key role in encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). This is vital to achieving air quality improvements and to meet the Mayor of London’s target for a zero-emission transport network by 2050.

The LBTH is seeing a dramatic growth in EV ownership and by 2025 expects to be supporting over 3,300 electric vehicles. This will be accelerated by a policy from the Mayor of London which will ensure that all new taxis are electric from 2018.

The network will consist of three complementary charging solutions:

Fast chargers: Working in partnership with Blue Point London to expand the Source London network of fast chargers for topping up at trip destinations.

Rapid chargers: Installed in partnership with TfL, these are primarily intended for use by Taxi/PHVs or long distance travelers. They can charge a vehicle in 30-40 minutes.

Lamp post chargers: Following an initial trial of innovative lamp post chargers, in partnership with Ubitricity, the hope is to roll out this technology in residential areas where there is not off street parking for EV owners to charge with.

We are delivering a comprehensive, accessible and appropriate charging network for residents, business and visitors to Tower Hamlets. The ultimate aim of this project is to achieve full coverage (a charger a maximum of 400m from any point within the borough) by 2025.

Our approach

Preliminary stage

We developed a model of where demand is expected to be highest by collating all relevant existing data (including Source London member registrations, existing EV infrastructure and council member requests) which is then plotted along with the latest TfL/SMMT data. A public consultation was also carried out to engage directly with residents and businesses.

Stage 1

With the aid of preliminary stage data, we identified the most suitable locations for EVCP installations.

Sites are identified using pre-defined criteria which takes into consideration both technical requirements, (for example, close proximity to the BT network) and desirable requirements (for example, close proximity to local attractions such as stations or high streets). The initial phase of charging points will be in ‘push’ locations that are visible to residents and generate an awareness of the expansion of the Source London network. Further phases will consider ‘pull’ locations that people actively seek out.

Stage 2

Dependent on how the LBTH chooses to proceed with the EVCP installations we will support Blue Point London by providing reports and evaluations of each site, draft any required documentation for planning applications and liaise with the LBTH during the application process.

Stage 3

We’re working collaboratively with SSE through the implementation process by providing all requested drawings and related documents, liaising with the local authority to ensure the correct leases, licensees and permissions have been granted and providing a channel of correspondence between the Local Authority and SSE on all aspects relating to the commissioning of sites. Under our process SSE will still be involved in the commissioning and we will manage this process.

Using our in house Traffic Order experts we will draft all required Traffic Management Order and associated notices.


Understanding that to deliver this scheme successfully it would be essential for stakeholders to be engaged with at the earliest opportunity we carried out a consultation to inform residents and businesses. The information collected was key to guiding the location and type of chargers. This process is ongoing and the aim is to now focus on specific areas of high demand.

Identifying suitable locations within a London borough which has high parking occupancy levels proved difficult. Through detailed stakeholder engagement we have been able to overcome barriers to implementation such as concern over the loss of dedicated parking.

The future

Tower Hamlets is at the forefront of EV charging provision in the UK and will demonstrate innovation and best practice which can be applied by other local authorities across London and the country as a whole. Implementing this scheme is made more interesting by the high concentration of taxis and PHVs residing in the borough which will soon begin converting to EVs.

The upcoming trial of lamp post chargers is a key innovation that, if successful, could be rolled out nationwide. Collaboration with the Council, lighting contractors and residents has been vital to the success of the project.

The public consultation carried out has taught us how best to target potential and existing EV owners. A strong understanding of the needs and concerns of potential EV owners has now been established.