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Infrastructure & Projects Authority on behaviour change and electric vehicle adoption

Building 'Brand Britain' through the impact of our nation's infrastructure projects, was a topic that was put to Stephen Dance, Delivery Director at the Infrastructure & Projects Authority during Future Cities Forum discussions this week at London City Hall.

Stephen also talked about the Department of Transport's report on the need to develop 'human behaviours' around projects, remembering that success depends on far more than just observing process, and referenced the work that the government is doing on climate change and the challenge for creating electric vehicle infrastructure:

'The National Infrastructure Commission is doing a great job looking ahead to 2050 for infrastructure, but has the government been slow on electric vehicles? There are clear challenges in delivering these the government slow or are we as a society slow at putting on the pressure for change? As a set of societies post-war we have not made low carbon a priority until really quite recently. Only five years ago the government was saying buy a diesel car but now you are complete pariah if you drive one. Everybody wants to buy electric now but where are the charging points?

'However it can't just be a government response and the move to EVs isn't going to happen overnight. The NIC is doing the right thing and setting the right challenges for the future but the biggest thing facing us now is that the government's recent commitment to zero carbon will have a massive impact on how we plan and pay for low carbon infrastructure. My challenge to you is whether we as communities, industries and individuals are ready?'

The National Infrastructure Commission's Lead on Urban Transport, Greg McClymont who also spoke at the forum, then commented on what the Commission was hoping for from the Government's Autumn Statement:

'The central recommendation on funding electric vehicle infrastructure is a balance between private and public, but we think the priority should be for rural charging points. One of the big obstacles for increasing EV sales is the feeling that you can't go everywhere, so helping the network in rural areas is a top ask.'

Lead Designer at Arup, Ricky Sandhu spoke on the panel discussion about the need to combat charge anxiety among those considering buying an EV. He illustrated how the firm's partnership with Gridserve is aiming to put one hundred Electric Forecourts into the UK as fuel stations of the future:

'We are trying to move away from petrol station thinking by including work stations, cafes and so on, and by mixing in green infrastructure with this new network of modular forecourts.

'Arup is very passionate about paying attention to the spaces between buildings, and transport is one of the biggest offenders on carbon. Why can't we integrate more opportunistic charging into urban design? How can we make our asphalt generate energy? How can we create more on-demand public transport, and therefore re-calibrate the spaces to make room for green infrastructure?

Future Cities Forum will be reporting further on insights from the other contributors - Go-Ahead Group, TfL and Milton Keynes Council - on this important panel discussion, across future blogs and in our forum report.

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