MORE electric vehicle charging points are to be installed across the county, as civic chiefs look to tackle the region’s air quality.

Hampshire County Council has released funding for district, borough and town councils to fit the electricity stations, that can be used by the public.

Currently, there are six ‘rapid charge’ points across the county, and a further six ‘fast charge’ plots.

Economic development chief, councillor Mel Kendal, said: “Our electric vehicle programme remains focused on investing in facilities so that Hampshire residents can access environmentally friendly travel. This gives value for money both for motorists and the public purse.

“In March we launched plans to help local authorities access grant funding and private sector investment, to install charging points for general public use, as well as for public sector facilities such as national country parks, and vehicles.

“This has seen 25 public sector organisations come forward to discuss options with us, which is evidence of the demand out there to convert to this type of energy.”

The authority’s electric vehicle programme has also seen the organisation plan more use of electric vehicles in its own operations.

It is reviewing where savings can be made in its 156 small vehicle fleet by replacing those at the end of their lease with electric equivalents.

This, the council says, has the potential to save up to £210,000 per year.

So far eight charging points have been installed across the county for use by council staff, with 20 further installations planned.

Cllr Kendal added: “As the number of public and staff charging points grows, so does our testing of electric vehicles. Earlier this year, we began an electric vehicles pilot which will reduce energy costs by 97 per cent compared to equivalent diesel vehicles. That pilot has now grown from two to seven, with the vehicles being used for a range of tasks including delivering schools supplies.

“We look forward to analysing how successful the pilot has been, so we can adopt the learning and become as environmentally, energy and economically efficient as possible.”

The County Council has already saved nearly £30 million in energy costs over the past seven years after cutting its carbon emissions by 38.1 per cent since 2010.

The local authority has now set a more ambitious target to cut carbon from 40 to 50 per cent by 2025.