Electric car drivers could soon be plugging their cars into lampposts.

Southend Council has applied for £100,000 funding to begin a programme of installing 100 charging points across the borough.

It is illegal to run a cable across a public footpath so those without off-street parking cannot charge their cars from home but, the council is looking at the possibility of installing charging points on lampposts in some residential areas.

Councillor Andrew Moring, cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “In Southend we estimate that around 50 per cent of households do not have access to off-street parking.

“Council officers are preparing an application to the office for low emission vehicles to provide EV charge points in streetlights but this has not yet been approved.

“If successful, the funding would be available from April but we expect up to five charging points earlier than this, which would allow us to train installers in preparation for the main installation.”

Mr Moring added: “Council officers are looking to experiment with what works best in Southend, with options ranging from a dedicated bay that can only be used for charging, bays that can only be used for charging during certain times of the day, to some areas where multiple points could be installed with no dedicated bay.

“Personally, I would not want to see parking bays lost for other residents in areas where demand outstrips supply, so we will have to proceed carefully and closely monitor what works – and what doesn’t – from the outset.”

Residents wishing to use the charging points will be required to register with the scheme and receive their charging cable.

They will then pays for the electricity used.

There are currently 11 council-owned charging points in Southend.

The number of electric/plug-in hybrid cars in Southend has doubled over the last 18 months and as of September last year there were 199 such cars registered in the borough.

It is hoped extra access will see this number rise over the coming months.