DRIVERS of electric vehicles will benefit from 36 new street charging points in Newbury which will be installed over the next few months.

The project has received £97,450 funding, including £72,450 from the government’s Office of Low Emission Vehicles.

Jeanette Clifford, West Berkshire’s lead councillor for transport and environment, said: “It’s an experiment for us. We would like to see this really readily available.

“We are trialling them in different areas to see how well they work. We hope people will like them. We want to give people the opportunity to have an electric car if they want.”

The government funding is specifically for residential roads with no off-street parking, and areas of East and West Fields in Newbury have been picked as fitting the funding criteria.

Cllr Clifford said: “We should be at the forefront of this. People in West Berkshire are early adopters.”

Electric vehicles eliminate greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change, hence the need to introduce infrastructure to support them, like charging points.

However, another source of carbon emissions is fossil fuels used to generate electricity for use in buildings. Switching to a 100 per cent renewable energy supplier massively reduces carbon emissions.

But West Berkshire Council is unaware how much of its energy comes from renewable sources. It buys energy through the Crown Commercial Services, an arm of the Cabinet Office.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “There are no actual figures on the makeup of that supply.”

Cllr Clifford said: “If we spend money on a 100 per cent renewable energy contract, then that’s something else we can’t spend on.

“In the future, we would look at the amount coming from green energy, but that wouldn’t be my decision, that would be a council decision.”

In March, the council announced it will spend £750,000 on installing solar panels on its buildings. Generating its own energy could save £30,000 a year.

A petition, which recently received 134 signatures, asked the council to declare a climate emergency and towards West Berkshire becoming net zero carbon by 2030. The council will debate the petition May 21.

Many councils across the country have already declared a climate emergency, including Reading Borough Council.