Agenda item


            Mr. P. Fyfe, Mr. P.  Wade, Mr. D. Lunney and Mr. A. Irwin, BT Openreach, attended in connection with this item and were welcomed by the Chairperson.


            The Climate Commissioner provided an overview on the proposal to provide the Council with the opportunity for Belfast to take part in a U.K. trial, by BT Openreach, to make use of DSLAM cabinets, distributed throughout the city, in order to provide on street charging for electric vehicles. She stated that given twenty percent of emissions in Belfast were attributed to transport, this would assist in helping the province meet its carbon reduction targets and make the city a much healthier place to live and work.


            Mr. Wade reported that 90,000 DSLAM cabinets had been provided throughout the UK, of which 60,000 were suitable for EV charging. He stated that the provision of the charging ports would assist in meeting the government’s target to provide 30,000 charging ports by 2030 and would assist those residents who had no access to off street parking. The Committee was informed that BT would be undertaking a trial, at its own cost, and would remove any associated hardware after the trial was completed, again at its own cost.


            The Members were provided with a map showing the distribution of the various DSLAM cabinets distributed throughout the city, including the exchange locations. Mr. Fyfe confirmed that six initial EV charging sites had been identified as part of the technical trial, including details of the proposed DCLAM cabinets and charger ports which would be subject to planning permission.


            In response to a question from a Member regarding any potential cost for users should the technical trial be successful, Mr. Wade confirmed that BT had not worked up a costing profile as yet which would be subject to market conditions and a commercial decision and stated that he would endeavour to come back with a response on the differential pricing mechanism between on street and off street EV charging.


            A Member raised concerns in regard to BT by virtue of owning the EV infrastructure and the risk associated with monopoly supply. Mr. Wade stated that there were other potential suppliers within the marketplace, including Virgin, and that there were no commercial barriers restricting other potential suppliers from entering the marketplace and competition would be a factor in comparative pricing.


            The Committee raised further issues in regard to restricted access for disabled pedestrians and cyclists given the infrastructure requirements and was assured that BT was required to comply with Public Realm and relevant planning legislation and that it was anticipated that a significant layout of cabling would be delivered underground.


            The Climate Commissioner reported that many of the Committee’s concerns would be addressed in the EV Strategy which would be used to coordinate the Council’s interventions in terms of equitable access to charging ports, including disabled groups and dedicated EV parking bays.  She stated that it would be her intention to report back to a future meeting of the Committee on the EV Strategy.


            The Committee noted the information provided and thanked the representatives from BT Openreach for their detailed and informative presentation.


Supporting documents: