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Pavement obstruction by Charging Cable Protectors

This is an issue I literally ran into - one of these across a shared use pavement in my town. I'm posting here to ask for thoughts, experiences and opinions on an issue I am not clear about yet.

The cable protector I came across on my utility cycle, which is a Brompton size e-folder with 16" wheels was the size of a bolt down road-hump across the pavement, and is advertised as a "Pavement Cable Protector".

It is 45mm high and 270mm side to side with 45 degree slopes. The height is the same as a scaffold plank.

Once we get any number of these, these shared pavements will be unusable by my I think, and even more unusable by wheelchair users etc.

Warwickshire Council have published guidance permitting use of these because 'haf their housing stock does not have parking off-street, and denying they have any responsibility in law.

Below is a piece I wrote to highlight the question for Wheels for Wellbeing's Disabled Cycling Activists Network.

I'd welcome any thoughts from anyone.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Councils are starting to promote use of cable protectors across pavements when charging electric cars.

Warwickshire Council for one are specifically offering advice that these are acceptable, and cable protectors, and have published guidance. This is all the info I have, I have not gone after the EIA, which should exist but I bet does not.

Close to half of Warwickshire’s housing stock has no off-street parking, such as a driveway, which can make the charging of an electric vehicle difficult. In order to address this problem, Warwickshire County Council is allowing residents to place a charging cable across a pedestrian footway (e.g., a pavement) when using a cable protector.

They also specifically say all legal responsibility for any problems caused is down to the owner.

IMO this is a lie, and is directly against the EA Provision of Equal Service, and the PSED - especially when we consider the disruption caused by the 2-5 of these we will end up with for every 10-20 houses in areas where they are needed given charging times.

AFAICS the typical size of "cable protectors" are up to 45mm (2 inches) high, 300mm wide and with 45 degree sloped. Aren't drop kerbs 5mm? And front wheels of a manual wheelchair 75-150mm?

Linked below one of these big ones with 150 reviews.

Looks like a recipe for huge conflict and abuse, and one that Councils will try to slope shoulders on.

HTH,

Warwickshire council article
https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/news/article/4348/making-electric-vehicl...

Warwickshire guidance
https://api.warwickshire.gov.uk/documents/WCCC-1615347118-1185

Pavement Cable Protector Product Link
https://www.theworkplacedepot.co.uk/pavement-cable-protector

Below
Warwickshire guidance
"Pavement Cable Protector" Photo and Dimension

If you're new please join in and if you have questions pop them below and the forum regulars will answer as best we can.

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32 comments

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 1 month ago
6 likes

That doesn't seem workable to me. If you do trip over it, how do you contact the owner - surely there should be some contact information if the council is claiming that it's not responsible for it? Also, what happens if you damage it? (Oops, I dropped the rubber handled axe that I was carrying straight onto the cable coming out of it)

If people are allowed to keep a cable and protector on the pavement, then does that mean that people are also allowed to remove them if they are becoming a nuisance?

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 month ago
2 likes

This would be entirely consistent with "how we do it" in the UK. Essentially set up the conditions for something (Cars 2.0) but when it comes to the inevitable consequences shrug and say "nothing to do with us" (even though there are laws which cover these things).

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mattw replied to hawkinspeter | 1 month ago
1 like

The political issue I think is that the Council don't care whether it's workable; they care that it is not their problem and no one can easily hold them responsible - just like eg A-barriers.

And the Govt just won't address an issue requiring some restriction on 'personal freedom'.

I think the key target groups, alongside arguing from both cycling and disabled pedestrian with mobility aid viewpoints, are Councillors who supervise LHAs, Regional Mayors, and the Labour candidates who will be the next generation of MPs. Plus asking prominent spokespeople to intervene.

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brooksby replied to hawkinspeter | 1 month ago
0 likes

Presumably you'd need to get some really expensive third party public liability insurance, too?

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mattw replied to brooksby | 1 month ago
1 like

brooksby wrote:

Presumably you'd need to get some really expensive third party public liability insurance, too?

Interesting thought. Would this be like cycling and covered under Household Insurance 3rd Party Liability?

Also, I wonder if the HSE have anything to say.

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Hirsute replied to mattw | 1 month ago
3 likes

Given you have to go on a £146 course to hang baskets off lamp posts, I wonder what electrical safety testing will be required and what checks and documentation will have to be regularly done.

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Hirsute | 1 month ago
12 likes

RantyHighwayMan

The council's guidance is astonishing. It allows cable protectors across footways with a maximum height of 32mm and side slopes at no more than 1 in 5. Under any interpretation of highway practice this is a significant trip hazard and impassable for some wheelchair users.

Of course, you're not allowed to run cables across the road, but it's fine to create issues for people using the footway.

I'm absolutely against the idea because it's making things more awkward or uncomfortable, but I reckon you'd need something more like this, but it's still liable to create a trip risk. Not so cheap or easy to deploy now is it.

//pbs.twimg.com/media/GNN-Q9xWsAETM7E?format=jpg&name=small)

 

Someone else commented "The trip hazard + obstruction is serious enough, but this presumably also creates an issue of "ownership" of the public highway; an "entitlement" to park in front of one's house because they need to charge. Unless there are very specific permits, this is going to cause problems."

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mattw replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
6 likes

Yes - I've also been all over twitter yesterday as my twitter name MattWardman on CycleGranny's thread (shows the value of twitter), and this weekend I'm flagging it in various places (here, Wheels for Wellbeing's DCAN, my local cycling FB group in Nottingham, and Active Trave Cafe next week). If I can find a name, I will add in Cycling UK's barriers to cycling team, and also Transport for All.

The Red Flag for me has been Warwickshire LHA officially declaring a free for all, and abdicating their legal responsibilities.

That Ranty diagram follows the step height and gradient guidelines in the Inclusive Mobility Guidelines, but the wider issues will be the frequency of these - potentially one every 6-12 houses some of the time (based on 6-12 hour charging time), energy and strength for some disabled people, abuse around refusal to move them, and cycles/mobility scooters forced back into the road (and more following abuse). Plus major issues for some particular conditions - eg bumps for people who bruise easily causing the to turn black and blue.

Reactions I have seen are just what I would expect in large part - "it's making it easier"; "yes a wheelchair can use it" (no evidence); "stop moaning"; "cyclists using disabled people as a front - despicable"; "it shows how much they have thought about disabled people".

Obviously Mark Harper will sit on his butt, and Rishi Sunk does not give a damn about disabled people, or especially cyclists.

So how to address?

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Hirsute replied to mattw | 1 month ago
4 likes

I can't recall which twitter thread it was in but someone mentioned the Dutch allow the use of sunken cables in the footway. But then they are a bit more advanced than us when it comes to infrastructure.

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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
0 likes

Ranty Highwayman has a blog on the subject with an image of a Dutch idea and a link to another. (Good article also):

https://therantyhighwayman.blogspot.com/2022/05/the-amazing-electricity-...

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mattw replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
2 likes

But then how do service providers maintain the footway?

We run servcies such as gas, water, electricity everywhere.

Never mind the back street angle-grinder wielders cutting trenches through all our paving slabs.

I might ask BicycleDutch if he can do a survey of this. I doubt that anyone has this sorted.

HMM. Based on who uses most electric cars - what does Norway do?

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hawkinspeter replied to mattw | 1 month ago
0 likes

mattw wrote:

But then how do service providers maintain the footway?

We run servcies such as gas, water, electricity everywhere.

Never mind the back street angle-grinder wielders cutting trenches through all our paving slabs.

I might ask BicycleDutch if he can do a survey of this. I doubt that anyone has this sorted.

I can anticipate issues with water getting into the channels and freezing which will mean that they won't last very long. That also raises the question of safety issues if/when the electric cable gets damaged.

The only decent solution is to have the cables properly sunken and sealed under the pavement i.e. proper kerbside charging infrastructure.

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Hirsute replied to mattw | 1 month ago
3 likes

Possible answer from chrisonabike link

//blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEj9gWsQEs_g9rNXe8r7K50pA3my20PU0aORhkpSpejCiGhrJ4TazxmMgkvKxTWnJEm1AtMY0tNPeF03jz3qLtIR-D-nC1ZK9tv8T_yTMcLKlgGE8oGyEcUZTkcZw8jNhJgHCl2-6Kv739dJRrco2EhFcDrXxWcoZbPsBKRPcbYMQdEuMc67pz_kdakQTA/w400-h225/FRVVwTUXEAEh2HN.jpg)

A Dutch scheme which used a street reconstruction to add modular channel blocks within which to run a charging cable. As with the Oxfordshire scheme, this relies on neighbourly goodwill, but it deals with the tripping issue.

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mattw replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
0 likes

Hirsute wrote:

I can't recall which twitter thread it was in but someone mentioned the Dutch allow the use of sunken cables in the footway. But then they are a bit more advanced than us when it comes to infrastructure.

https://twitter.com/RantyHighwayman/status/1788882817218208230

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Robert Hardy replied to mattw | 1 month ago
2 likes

Currently Nottingham too, an acceptable compromise, electric cars may not pay fuel tax, but those of us who live in terraced properties currently typically pay between 50 and 80 pence a kWh to charge our cars at charging stations, whether local authority or commercially provided, a cost very similar or greater to the price we would pay if we were running an internal combustion engined vehicle (my Zoe does between 3.8 and 4.2 miles per kW hour depending on ambient temperature, my previous diesel averaged 11.5 miles per litre). As a cyclist I would much prefer to share my road space with modest electric vehicles, most adult cyclists also drive a car so making it easier for people to make the switch is a compromise worth putting up with a little pavement inconvenience. I rarely charge from home, I think 3 times in the six months I have owned the car, but the protector I use 15mm upstand and 90 mm wide makes the cable both obvious and considerably less a trip hazard. We live in a crowded country where a measure of tolerance for the less than perfectly personally convenient is the necessary grease for a happy life.

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hawkinspeter replied to Robert Hardy | 1 month ago
5 likes

Robert Hardy wrote:

Currently Nottingham too, an acceptable compromise, electric cars may not pay fuel tax, but those of us who live in terraced properties currently typically pay between 50 and 80 pence a kWh to charge our cars at charging stations, whether local authority or commercially provided, a cost very similar or greater to the price we would pay if we were running an internal combustion engined vehicle (my Zoe does between 3.8 and 4.2 miles per kW hour depending on ambient temperature, my previous diesel averaged 11.5 miles per litre). As a cyclist I would much prefer to share my road space with modest electric vehicles, most adult cyclists also drive a car so making it easier for people to make the switch is a compromise worth putting up with a little pavement inconvenience. I rarely charge from home, I think 3 times in the six months I have owned the car, but the protector I use 15mm upstand and 90 mm wide makes the cable both obvious and considerably less a trip hazard. We live in a crowded country where a measure of tolerance for the less than perfectly personally convenient is the necessary grease for a happy life.

As a non-driving cyclist, I also much prefer electric vehicles, even the car-shaped ones and don't mind a bit of compromise to get people to switch.

However, putting obstructions over the pavements isn't a very workable system if we have a sizable percentage of people doing so. Where I live, there's a lot of old mining terraced housing, so the pavements would presumably have a lot of cables draped across them, though I expect that a lot of people don't get to park near their house anyway. I don't mind stepping over cable protectors, but the issue is with older folk that may be partially sited or less steady on their feet and of course there's people using wheelchairs or pushing their kids around in prams etc.

I think we should be making an effort to keep pavements clear of obstructions, but I would also consider that parking on pavements should also be prohibited.

I suspect that the eventual "solution" would be that big shops pay for and install charging stations as that almost guarantees extra footfall as drivers wait for their car to be charged up.

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chrisonabike replied to Robert Hardy | 1 month ago
5 likes

Compromise - in favour of the status quo e.g. the vast numbers with cars - will no doubt occur.

Not that they get much of a look-in normally anyway but you'll be aware that adding more impediments / hazards to pavements is as popular as dogpoo icecream with those with disabilities.  And in fact (because proportions of population) the largest numbers tripping up on these are likely to be ... drivers and car users without disabilities.

Plus of course as with everything "motoring" everyone will end up paying for this (either as a taxpayer or because "priorities" mean that money is spent here rather than on other things).  Including those who rarely / don't / can't drive.

It's certainly not perfection I'd hope to see, just some sign that authorities are taking note of this and seriously exploring solutions other than "just let everyone work it out for themselves".  First stop - do other places have some good ideas?

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mattw replied to Robert Hardy | 4 weeks ago
5 likes

Robert Hardy wrote:

Currently Nottingham too, an acceptable compromise, electric cars may not pay fuel tax, but those of us who live in terraced properties currently typically pay between 50 and 80 pence a kWh to charge our cars at charging stations, whether local authority or commercially provided, a cost very similar or greater to the price we would pay if we were running an internal combustion engined vehicle (my Zoe does between 3.8 and 4.2 miles per kW hour depending on ambient temperature, my previous diesel averaged 11.5 miles per litre). As a cyclist I would much prefer to share my road space with modest electric vehicles, most adult cyclists also drive a car so making it easier for people to make the switch is a compromise worth putting up with a little pavement inconvenience. I rarely charge from home, I think 3 times in the six months I have owned the car, but the protector I use 15mm upstand and 90 mm wide makes the cable both obvious and considerably less a trip hazard. We live in a crowded country where a measure of tolerance for the less than perfectly personally convenient is the necessary grease for a happy life.

I appreciate the reply - I have strong views, but I've deliberately opened this up as a debate because I don't know enough yet to reach a fully considered view..

The important phrase is "reasonable compromise" around "who is defining "reasonable", and "who is rquired to make the compromise". I don't think costs of electricity are relevant here, as the primary conversation is around right to access pavements. Challenges around the cost of charging must be fixed by fixing electricity prices, and not compromising legal rights of pavement users. "Your" basic rights cannot be compromised by "My" desire to save money.

Trip hazards are one aspect, but physical blocks for wheelchair users and others are another, and imo if any pavement is made unusable for any person then that is unreasonable by definition.

If it was about me needing to be more careful when walking, that is a compromise. When it is about whether my neighbour can wheel down the street for a bottle of milk, or not at all, that is beyond compromise in my opinion. And taking care to look more carefully is not a compromise visually impaired people can easily make.

Plus there is the issue of counncils which have chosen to create cheapskate cycling infra by creating shared pavements. Can I ride across these on my 16" wheeled foldeing cycle? Can people with conditions where their bodies react to bumps and shakes?

What I expect this Govt to do is *nothing*, which means that if we have unacceptable physical barriers imposed by Cable Protectors, then it will not be noticed until it is too yet and avoidable conflict will be created when pavements are blocked. Then we will be back into the same abuse-cycle as generated by unacceptable pavement parking - nothing is done, and it is allowed, so it becomes a 'Right' by osmosis, and pavement users who cannot get past are subjected to endless abuse / bullying by some.

On the dimensions, we have the maximum height of a pedestrian accessible drop kerb defined as being 6mm, with a defined slope for with 1 in 12 gradients the max from there. That is in teh Inclusive Mobility national guidelines.

So that seems to me to define the max *possible* for a pavement cable protector. Which becomes more critical when there may be 5-10 of them across the pavement on a street.

The one I bought having looked around is slightly smaller in height than a house brick - and is 45mm high with side slopes at 40 degrees.

I think I'm inclined to what is essentially an except-in-emergencies ban-by-Byelaw on putting cable across pavements, with channels in the pavement treated like drop kerbs - you can apply and pay to install one. That is based on the basic principle that the footway is a pedestrian space that cannot be obstructed. 

The appropriate solution for emergencies is perhaps a portable battery pack to let the vehicles driver get to the local charging point.

I note that some places eg Nottinghamshire are running pilot projects along these lines.

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Kapelmuur replied to mattw | 4 weeks ago
5 likes

With regard to disabled people it's already difficult them because of the number of vehicles parking on pavements.   
 

It seems to me that allowing vehicles unrestricted parking sets a precedent for future footway obstacles.

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armb replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
1 like

There are UK councils looking at better solutions like Kerbo or ChargeArm. It'll take a while for anything to be deployed at scale though. Similarly kerbside charging solutions based on lampposts or converted BT green boxes, or community charge points.

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Robert Hardy replied to armb | 1 month ago
1 like

Lamp post charging will need a huge investment in upgraded sub pavement cabling with all the associated investment in new street furniture along with all the potholes the required digging and filling will produce a few years down the line., A slightly less ideal, but vastly cheaper solution like cable channels is preferable.

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mattw replied to Robert Hardy | 4 weeks ago
3 likes

Robert Hardy wrote:

Lamp post charging will need a huge investment in upgraded sub pavement cabling with all the associated investment in new street furniture along with all the potholes the required digging and filling will produce a few years down the line., A slightly less ideal, but vastly cheaper solution like cable channels is preferable.

As I note, Notts for one are doing a trial on this. 
https://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/transport/travel-notts/electric-vehic...

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brooksby replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
7 likes

So as well as motorists believing that they own the carriageway (cos Road tax, innit) and thinking they have a god-given right to store their vehicles on the road for free, they are now going to quietly colonise the tiny proportion of public space exclusively (ish) for pedestrians by leaving tiny speed bumps everywhere.

And, as hirsute says, it opens up a serious can of worms about exclusivity of the 'parking space' on the road in front of an individual's house...  Investment in far far more public charging points is surely the only answer for people who don't have their own off-road parking.

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 1 month ago
4 likes

Wait - are there places near you where motorists haven't colonised the footways already?

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mattw replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
2 likes

chrisonabike wrote:

Wait - are there places near you where motorists haven't colonised the footways already?

They will be colonising the 25-100cm inadequate gap they currently leave.

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mattw | 1 month ago
4 likes

Pic of cable protector in use.

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mattw | 1 month ago
2 likes

Pic of cable protector w/dimensions
 

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lonpfrb replied to mattw | 3 weeks ago
7 likes

The product blurb states:
Suitable for pedestrian areas, not vehicular traffic.

So wheelchairs and bicycles are disregarded!

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mattw | 1 month ago
2 likes

Warwickshire Guidance Text
----------------------------
Warwickshire County Council

Use of cable protectors for electric vehicle charging

Guidance for Residents

Warwickshire County Council (WCC) wants to lead on tackling climate change. One
of the ways we can do this is encourage a switch away from fossil-fuel powered
transport to more sustainable travel options. In particular, electric vehicles (EV) can
make an important contribution to this move towards greener transport choices and
WCC recognises the significant benefits of doing so, particularly in relation to air
quality, public health and reducing carbon.

EV usage is increasing year on year and the county council is working hard to
provide more publicly available charging infrastructure and to make it as convenient
and attractive as possible to switch over to EVs.

However, WCC recognises that many Warwickshire residents live in houses which
do not have off-street parking. This guidance has been produced to aid residents for
whom off street parking is not available but wish to drive an EV and charge their
vehicle close to their home.

Anyone wishing to install a private residential charging point should satisfy
themselves, by contacting their local planning authority at the district or borough
council, that they have complied with all relevant planning conditions before doing
so.

Before charging, you should refer to your vehicle’s handbook and any instructions for the use of cables, including extension cables, and, if necessary, seek advice from a qualified electrician before charging an electric vehicle.

Charging cables may be placed across footways only if they are housed in
appropriate cable protectors. It is important to consider public safety and existing
legislation when placing the cable from the power supply in your home to your
vehicle. Any legal liability arising from the placement of the cable or protector
is your responsibility. You may wish to speak to your home insurer to confirm that
your home insurance policy covers any situation arising from use of

It is the responsibility of the person charging the vehicle to adhere to any
parking restrictions that may be in place and to avoid obstructing the footway
or any accesses. This guidance is intended to help residents make informed
decisions about how they can charge a vehicle in these locations. It is the
responsibility of the person charging the vehicle to avoid putting themselves
and others at risk when trailing a cable across a footway or an area people
may cross.

Parking your vehicle for charging

Vehicles should be parked as close to the property as possible. Where a vehicle
cannot be parked immediately outside the property, the cable should be run along
the carriageway channel against the kerb. The recommended maximum distance
from a point outside the property is 10 metres (approximately 2 car lengths).
The cable should not cross the carriageway. Your vehicle should always be parked
on the same side of the road as your property.

Any vehicle parked on the highway must always adhere to any local parking
restrictions that may be in place and should not obstruct the footway.
Charging your vehicle

Whenever you are charging your vehicle, you should always follow all guidance and
recommendations in your manufacturer’s handbook (this may differ depending on
the vehicle).

Any extension lead that is required should be suitable for external use. You should
read any instructions on the correct use provided with your extension lead.

Cables should be laid flat and never be extended from an upper storey to a vehicle,
nor should they be hung from any street furniture including lamp columns or trees.

A cable should only be placed over the footway when the vehicle is charging and
should always be removed when not in use.

It is the resident’s responsibility to ensure that the cable does not cause a danger or
nuisance to the public.

Cables should be laid flat so that they do not cause a danger or nuisance to the
public. The cable use shown above is not an acceptable way to charge an EV.
Using a cable protector

The most appropriate solution for getting the cable from your property boundary to
your vehicle safely is to use a suitable cable protector. Cable protectors are regularly
used in public spaces and areas of high footfall to cover cables or wires on a
temporary basis.

Any cable protector used should cover the area likely to be walked across, including
the full width of any footway and verge between the property and the vehicle.

The cable protector should be non-slip, have contrasting colour markings e.g. yellow
and black, have anti-trip sloped sides, and be of a tough construction suitable for
outdoor use.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the cable protector is used in
accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and that it is suitable for
outdoor use and durable. You should remove any cable protector as soon as
charging has finished.

Cable protectors should be visible, durable and laid across the footway as shown

Cable licensing

Currently an EV charging cable does not require a licence. However, as policies are
reviewed and updated this may change in the future.

Although no licence is currently required, where a location is not suitable then the
County Council has existing powers under Section 162 of the Highways Act to seek
to have the cable removed. We reserve the right to require inappropriately used
cables or those which cause obstruction to be removed.

A licence is required for all other temporary placement of cabling on or over the
Highway.
---------------------------

 

Avatar
lonpfrb replied to mattw | 3 weeks ago
1 like

Huge missed avoidance of obstruction:
Cables should be laid flat and never be extended from an upper storey to a vehicle,
nor should they be hung from any street furniture including lamp columns or trees.

It's like they never heard of telegraph poles nor the regulations on overhead power cables..

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