Electric vehicles: Is the rural North East ready?

Drivers in the North East and North Yorkshire countryside who want to make the switch to electric vehicles are warning the region's infrastructure is not ready.

The government expects most motorists to be fully electric by 2030, with sales of new diesel and petrol cars set to be banned.

But new research by the County Councils Network claims that in some more rural parts of the Tyne Tees region, the average distance between public charging points is 16 miles - compared to one every mile in London. 

Bob Sherman runs a service in his village using an electric car to help vulnerable people get out and about, but there are currently no public charging points so he relies on power from a local library to charge it.

"There are quite a lot of people in villages who can park off the road and have their own domestic charger," he said.

After years of frustration, Bob and other villagers are taking matters into their own hands by aiming to fund and install public charging points themselves in a shared car park. 

Beyond private and commercial charging points, local authorities are being tasked with installing many public ones.

Councillor Mark Wilkes, climate change lead on Durham County Council, said the authority is committed to installing charging points.

He said: "The East Riding is over 900 square miles, so we've put charging points within our car parks, within our market towns, which are accessible for everybody to use.

Elsewhere in the region, groups are trying to reduce our reliance on vehicle ownership altogether.

Susan Ross is project manager at Derwent Valley Car Club - a scheme based in Blackhall Mill which provides access to electric vehicles for a membership fee.

"Apparently a car club vehicle can remove up to 20 individual private cars from the road," she said.

"So obviously as we move forward, congestion's due to increase due to population increases."

The Department for Transport says it has committed £620 million to help people transition to electric vehicles, with a proportion going towards improving charging infrastructure.