Councils will install scores more electric car charging points with more than £1m in grants from the Government.
Northumberland County Council is the region’s biggest beneficiary, given £997,500 to build a network of charging points, mainly in town centres and at the county’s tourist attractions.
Gateshead receives £150,000, which will see some of the distinctive blue posts installed as part of the regeneration of Birtley, Blaydon and Felling, while Durham gets £67,500 and Sunderland £29,500 from the Department for Transport. Adrian White, Durham County Council’s head of transport, said: “It is important that we support and develop sustainable transport options and, as such, we have already created a network of 35 electric vehicle charging points at venues across the county including Park and Ride sites and on-street parking areas.
“The OLEV funding has been awarded specifically for the provision of charging points at council venues, meaning we can further increase the use of electric vehicles within our fleet, saving money and reducing emissions.
“The charging points will also be available to the public on a pay-as-you-go basis through the Charge Your Car national network of re-charging points.”
Councillor Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council, said the £997,500 his county will receive over the next two years was positive news.
“This is fantastic news for people living, working and travelling in Northumberland,” he said.
“The funding will allow us to build on our existing network of plug-in points and establish wide coverage. This will make the use of electric vehicles a convenient, viable, option for motorists based in the county as well as visitors to Northumberland.”
Of the funding, £30,000 a year will be spent on providing plug-in points on county council land, with £300,000 this financial year and £637,500 next available for rapid chargers in town centres and at tourist attractions – though a spokesman for the council could not confirm exactly where they would be.
East Coast also gets £150,000 for new charging points at its stations and Northern Rail has been given £15,000
“We welcome the funding announced today as good news for East Coast customers,” a spokesman said.
“It will contribute to our plans to promote interchange with rail as an environmentally friendly travel choice.
“At this stage details of the exact location and number of electric car charging points at the 12 stations managed by East Coast, including Newcastle and Durham, are not yet finalised – but it is highly likely that Newcastle and Durham stations will benefit from this initiative.”