In the latest barrage against diesel engines, councils across the country are preparing to restrict ice cream vans unless they go electric. The announcement comes as the climate change committee in government has announced that they expect by 2024/25 for electric vehicles to be the same price and have the same range.
Some internal combustion engines will still be on the road in 2050, especially for those who cannot afford to upgrade or for those who are too far out from charging points. Some other MPs are still questioning about charge points, as it seems there are no plans for the government to encourage development for business to build charge areas.
“A side order of asthma”
Ice cream vans have long been a staple of the British summer, hearing the jingle as it drives down the road, running out of the house for a Flake 99 or perhaps an ice lolly. Now, it seems this is in jeopardy as Camden council, in London, announced a ban on ice cream vans by installing a “no ice cream trading” sign in 40 streets.
Ice cream vans produce NOx and pump black soot out while they sell ice cream, and due to the young population that often visits them in summer, the risk is even higher. According to UNICEF “Across 86% of the UK, children are breathing in harmful levels of toxic air.” This high proportion of children breathing in high polluting air is devastating, as none of the pollution is their fault.
Green Party London Assembly member Caroline Russell, speaking to the Evening Standard, said: “No one wants to be the fun police or see people lose their businesses. But people don’t want a side order of asthma with their ice cream. This is a serious health issue. The ULEZ charge has helped but we can’t have a situation where you can pay to pollute. The roaming vans that trade in different streets every day, those will disappear over the next few years.”
Westminster Borough Council is trying to find alternative solutions such as plug-in points for roaming vendors, but haven’t confirmed anything yet.
Bring forward the ban
As this news was announced, the government also released a report into bringing forward the ban of combustion engines to 2030. This doesn’t come without complications though, as charging points and the zero-emissions target of 2050 have raised concerns.
By 2030, the government expects for electric vehicles to have the same range and price point as their combustion counterparts. This isn’t matched by the natural resources needed for the batteries, namely cobalt, as there are restrictions around obtaining the element.
There is also the charging issue, and as one MP put it: Mary Creagh, chair of the environmental audit committee, told the BBC: “Ministers are useless. They seem to think the market will miraculously provide charging point and the government has no job to regulate charging points.”
Charging points have often been the sticking point for many potential EV drivers with some of our users raising the issue of public charging in remote locations. Areas such as Yorkshire and Wales have the least charging points in the UK, whereas Greater London (surprise, surprise) has the most.
On the other hand, surprisingly Scotland has a high proportion of electric vehicle charging points, the third highest in Great Britain. This is most likely due to the Scottish target to ban combustion engines by 2032, eight years before the UK target.
One must ask the question if petrol pumps and prices are not regulated, should there be government regulation on electric charge points? Obviously, there is a base layer of regulation to do with safety standards and that side of things but in terms of charging, companies are free to charge as little or as much as they want. Some use subscriptions on a monthly basis, others have a card that charges you for what you use, some do both. But if there is no pump price regulation, why should there be electric charge point regulation?
What do you think of the ban on ice cream vans? Do you think the target should be brought forward? Let us know below