PLANS are afoot for Winchester City Council to be at the forefront of electric vehicle charging as it proposes to spend thousands on points across the district.

Civic chiefs are aiming to install close to 40 charging points in the city, along with its market towns, to encourage greater uptake of electric vehicles (EV).

Work has already begun to scope out where the outlets could be placed and the authority has joined forces with JoJu, pioneers in the renewables industry, to pave the way forward for the network.

The ambitions went before the health and environment policy committee on Monday, with praise coming from councillors on the board.

Presenting the idea, Cllr Jackie Porter, cabinet member for built environment and wellbeing, said she hopes there will be an “increase in the number of vehicles because of an increase in confidence” in owners knowing where they will be able to charge their cars.

David Ingram, service lead for public protection, said that the district is “ socio economically receptive to EV uptake,” adding: “many people can afford it, many can’t ,but many can”.

Mr Ingram added: “This is all about kick-starting the process for our residents in the district.

“It is about what will be good for the environment, what will be good for public health and encouraging people to make that change.”

Work completed by the council and JoJu has highlighted that there could be a need for over 46 points across the district, but after further discussions several options have been discussed.

The committee were told that under a proposal by JoJu only 36 charging points would be installed, however the council is recommending to pay for units where the company’s option would not cover.

Currently the business is suggesting that two points in Kidmore Lane, Denmead, would not be viable, but Cllr Porter said she hoped that this gap would be filled by the council.

The charging points will be located in authority-owned car parks, with visions to expand to park and ride sites in the future.

Depending on which option is chosen the council spend somewhere between £288,653 and £150,445, and cabinet will debate the choices at a forthcoming meeting.

“This is a bit of crystal ball gazing. It is probably quite fair to say the cabinet in making their decision to put in a EV charging network shouldn’t be looking at the fiscal reasons for doing so. It is about providing that network and providing leadership for the residents of our district.”

If the council were to take the lead and fully fund the points they would make an income of around £50,000 over the 15-year term, but if it was to part cover the costs along with JoJu it would be looking at an income of just £1,000.

It comes as new figures reveal that drivers are gradually joining the green revolution in Winchester with a big rise in electric vehicles.

Department for Transport statistics show that 682 ultra-low emission vehicles were licensed in Winchester at the end of September – 48 per cent more than at the same point a year earlier. The figures include battery electric, hybrid, and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Across the UK, 247,000 such vehicles were licensed at the end of September – three per cent up on the previous year. They include 70,000 which were registered in the last year – just 2.4 per cent of 3 million new vehicles overall.