Issue - decisions
Low Emissions Taxi Infrastructure Scheme
23/03/2021 - Decision to approve recommended sites for Rapid EV Chargers for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire priority use under the Go Ultra Low Oxford Taxi Project, phase 2.
1. Approve final charge point installation sites for Taxi and Private Hire priority use at six locations under phase two of T-GULO including Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre, Headington Car Park, Keble Road, Old Greyfriars Street (Westgate), and Rewley Road Paved area. A fully public site is approved for Botley Road Retail Park. Multiple sites are pending the conclusion of third party land use negotiations.
2. Approve fall-back charge point installation sites, to be pursued should the (above) final charge point installations sites fail to pass third party land use negotiations. Fall back sites include Worcester Street Car Park, Ferry Leisure Centre and Rewley Road Layby.
3. Approve the delivery of all of the above sites excluding Botley Road under a concession model where the Council contributes 75% of the capital funding, with a 25% match from EB Charging Ltd. EB Charging will be responsible for all ongoing operational costs excluding maintenance of the site. The two existing T-GULO chargers at Manzil Way Gardens will be adopted under this model.
4. Approve an additional fully public site on Botley Road Retail Park to be pursued under a concession model with increased revenue share, to increase overall commercial resilience of the provision. This is pending third party land use agreement.
Background of project
5. In partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council has developed proposals for a Zero Emission Zone in Oxford, to be rolled out in phases from 2021. The overall aim of this journey to zero is to eliminate transport ‘tailpipe’ emissions in Oxford city centre by 2035. Transitioning businesses and residents to ultra-low and zero emission vehicles is a critical building block of this zero-emission ambition.
6. Public Health England advises that ‘there is no evidence of a threshold for health effects’ from air pollution and that local authorities should “seek to lower population-level exposure and reduce everyone’s exposure to air pollution, as well as targeting ‘hotspots’’, to maximise health benefits. In January 2020, a study from Centre for Cities showed that the estimated absolute number of attributable deaths caused by PM2.5 alone in Oxford in 2017 was 55. Nitrogen Oxides NOx (NO2 and NO) are the pollutants of most concern in Oxford and the city continues to see breaches of the legal limit for this pollutant.
7. A 2016 feasibility study commissioned by Oxford City Council, conducted by the Energy Savings Trust, established that the Oxford Hackney Carriage produces comparatively high levels of NOX emissions, driven by the fleet’s age profile – at the time of study, over 50% of vehicles were 17 years or older, all were diesel and only one vehicle met the newest Euro6 standard. A second study conducted by CENEX commissioned by Oxford City Council using telematics showed routing patterns in the current fleet, which confirmed that taxi NOx emissions are largely generated within the central, high footfall areas of Oxford.
8. New emissions requirements for hackney carriages were agreed in February 2019 with the support of the trade: Citywide Hackney Carriages emissions standards began to apply from 2020, with a requirement for all vehicles to be ULEV by 2025.
9. Oxford’s first four Ultra Low Emission Taxis, and one zero emission Private Hire Vehicle have since been licensed in Oxford, and the City Council is working with drivers and the Hackney Carriage trade to increase uptake. Covid19 has slowed this transition, but the overall trajectory remains unchanged.
10. T-GULO Phase 1 saw a high-profile flagship rapid taxi charging site consisting of two chargers (four rapid charge points) successfully delivered October 2019 at Manzil Way Gardens and has been positively received by the trade. This site is utilised daily. Temporary public access to suitable sites will be considered while trade utilisation is still low.
11. The project is set to be delivered by May 2021 on a total budget of £478000 (including £373000 of funding from OLEV and match funding of £105000 from Oxford City Council). Spend to date totals £170000 with £308000 remaining.
Decision to award a contract to Electric Blue Ltd that runs until 31st March 2025 with an option of a further three year extension, at a maximum cost to the council of £317060 (total budgetary spend).
The Supplier will be responsible for:
a) The supply and installation of a minimum of four rapid electric vehicle charging units (eight charge points),
b) A feasibility study to identify the most viable sites and ensure value for money.
c) Qualified design support and contract administration to ensure the delivered solutions meet the Council’s requirements, all relevant regulation, and the conditions of the external funder, Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
d) Charge point operations and maintenance of the delivered chargers and associated infrastructure,
e) The integration of the existing Go Ultra Low Oxford taxi rapid chargers into the back office and maintenance regimes on expiry of the existing contracts.
f) The contract also allows for the supply of fast charging installations however it is not currently expected that these will be pursued.
The Director for Sustainable City submitted a report which sought project approval to spend capital funding of £370k granted by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). The funding is to deliver electric vehicle charging points for Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles operating in Oxford. Further funding may be available depending on degree of uptake of ultra-low emission taxis. The total project value may therefore exceed £500k in total.
Cllr John Tanner, Board Member for A Clean, Green Oxford presented the report. At a time of austerity, it was particularly gratifying to have secured government funds to contribute to the introduction of this scheme. The development of a network of rapid charging points would mean that Oxford taxis would be leading the way in the introduction of cleaner and cheaper transport in the City. A meeting with taxi drivers was being arranged and while the costs of new electric vehicles was greater than for others, the running costs were significantly less.
Cllr Rowley noted the significant increase in the proportion of diesel vehicles over the last decade and anything that contributed to a reduction in consequent pollution levels was very welcome.
The Executive Director for Community Services said that the taxi trade sought certainty and timetables for implementation. They understood that cabs would be more expensive but want to know when the proposal was going ahead. This was a matter that had been discussed for some time so the present scheme was very welcome.
Cllr Hollingsworth asked about the distinction between Hackney Carriages and private cabs for this purpose. The scheme was primarily aimed at Hackney Carriages but Cllr Tanner said that the meeting referred to above was with all taxi providers. He noted that an increasing number of private hire vehicles were either already electric or hybrid.
The Board thanked officers for their effective work at bringing the scheme to this point.
The City Executive Board resolved to:
1. Grant project approval for the electric vehicle charging for taxis project referred to in this report;
2. Delegate authority to the Director for Sustainable City to complete negotiations with the Office of Low Emission Vehicles with a view to the Council being appointed as the accountable body for, and receiving grant funding under a funding agreement with the Office of Low Emission Vehicles;
3. Delegate authority to the Director for Sustainable City, in consultation with the Monitoring Officer and Section 151 officer, the authority within the funding envelope provided by the Council to enter into:
a) a grant agreement with the Office of Low Emission Vehicles;
b) appropriate agreements with our bid partners; and third parties required to deliver the project subject to their being selected under an appropriate procurement process.