Tensions are emerging in Wandsworth Labour between the Transport and Environment Committee over expanding electric vehicle (EV) charging points, claims a Conservative councillor.
In a meeting on Thursday 10 November, the Wandsworth Labour Environment Committee stressed its commitment to expanding EV charging points to limit air pollution and help climate change.
However, Head of the Transport Committee, Councillor Jo Rigby, expressed hostility to EV’s by tweeting: “The biggest shift I’ve experienced since leading @wandbc Transport Ctte is that we have set expectation that we are not here to help the car industry sell more EVs.
“We are here to reduce use of fossil fuelled private vehicles & enable healthier choices.”
The Conservative Councillor for Thamesfield, Ethan Brooks, said in response to these tweets: “EV charging points are massively important to how we tackle climate change air quality in Wandsworth to meet our commitments that the council declared in 2019.
“I was surprised to see Cllr Rigby tweet what she tweeted,” he said.
“It’s very concerning that the Chair of the Transport Committee doesn’t support one of the key ways to beat those commitments and shows there are clear divisions within the group.”
Brooks questioned Councillor Rigby’s tweet and whether it reflected the wider position of the council at the latest Environment Committee meeting.
Statistics from Wandsworth Council’s Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy 2022 show there are currently 907 public EV charging points in Wandsworth.
The map shows Wandsworth as a leader in expanding the EV network compared to other London boroughs.
Wandsworth Labour council denied any wider hostility to electric vehicles and cars beyond Rigby’s comments.
In a statement, the group said that it is committed to expanding the EV network.
When asked about Brook’s remarks, Rigby said: “The council makes no apology for focusing our efforts on making it easier for people to take up active travel opportunities instead of using petrol or diesel cars.
“I certainly wouldn’t be advising people to buy new cars in the middle of a cost of living crisis and all the huge economic uncertainty the country is facing.
“Especially when walking and cycling are better and healthier options.
”Londoners are choking on polluted air and we are taking steps to solve this problem. That’s what Cllr Brooks should be focusing on too.”
Featured image credit: byronv2 AttributionNonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)