ON-STREET electric vehicle charging points could be brought to 750 sites across Dorset.

Dorset and BCP councils will be working together to employ a contractor to develop the network, mostly paid for with a Government grant of around £2.5million.

At the moment neither council area has any on-street EV charge points, most being in public car parks or on private land.

The news has come with a warning that it could cause additional parking problems in some tight-knit areas where on-street parking is inadequate.

Weymouth councillor Ryan Hope (Lib Dem, Westham) warned Dorset Council’s Cabinet meeting that he could foresee problems in parts of the town as EV drivers competed with other cars for spaces and asked for consultation with local councillors before charge points were agreed.

Cllr Sherry Jespersen (Con, Holl Forts & Upper Tarrants ward) made a plea for rural areas not to be forgotten once the scheme is rolled out.

“I am increasingly concerned that many of our villages and rural areas will be left behind because EV charging in those areas will not be considered to be economically viable,” she said.

The two Dorset councils will be working together to commission a contractor to roll out the EV network and to help identify suitable sites. It is expected that the contract will be agreed in the autumn with the first charge points starting to appear on the streets next year, with the project completed in 2026.

At the end of the 15-year contract period the charge points and all the infrastructure will revert to Dorset Council and BCP ownership.

The units will only be available at lower charge rates, around 7kw, to enable them to be connected to the existing power network, including using street light columns. Higher and faster charging will not be available under the scheme.

Announcing the programme Dorset Council leader Nick Ireland said the charge points would provide a boost for the local economy helping residents, visitors and local business – while at the same time encouraging people to switch to electric vehicles, helping to reduce air pollution across the whole county.

The meeting heard that the charge points will not need to be granted planning consent before being installed.

Cllr Ireland, whose family have two electric vehicles, said he had no doubt that the network would encourage the take-up of electric vehicles, being provided at no cost to either council and giving each a very small income from the fees drivers will pay.