MORE than £14million is set to be spent on car charging points for electric vehicles across Lancashire.

The £14.8million scheme comes after a Lancashire County Council successfully bid for the cash from the Department for Transport.

Owners of electric vehicles will be able to access 150 charging points across the county, with a third expected in East Lancashire, all set be installed by March 2018.

Despite the money being ring fenced for green transport solutions some community leaders are concerned this money could be better spent saving County Hall runs services such as buses and libraries earmarked for closure.

Cllr Peter Britcliffe, the deputy mayor of Hyndburn, said: "It is sad to see that this amount of money is being used for this purpose when places like Oswaldtwistle is set to see the library closed and other community centres and services shutting down.

"I would have thought that there were other priorities for money.

"There is an electric charging point in Accrington town centre and it is hardly used."

Blackburn with Darwen Council and district and borough councils must join the scheme to enable users to access the points.

Blackburn and Blackpool have indicated they would like to be part of this scheme so that any charging points they introduce in their area can be accessed by anyone who is a member of the scheme.

Cllr Andy Kay, Blackburn with Darwen Council's executive member for resources, said: "To move forward we have got to make investment.

"There are a lot of things which people may feel are a higher priority but this money has been provided by government for a specific purpose."

Officers who are working on the project recently arranged to borrow a BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf for a few days to get a better feel for what it's like to own an electric vehicle.

County Cllr John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "The government has provided councils with the funding to establish many more charging points, and we're now doing the groundwork to add significantly to the existing network.

"We're working with district councils and our neighbours in Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool to create a network that electric vehicle users in this area can sign up to and be sure they're never too far away from a charging point.

"Our aim is to help give people the confidence to consider buying an electric vehicle by making it easy to find a charging point reasonably nearby, wherever you are."

The county council will be going out to tender this year to secure a contract provider for the charging machines and supporting back-office technology – it is hoped the first charging points will be installed in early 2017.

The funding received from the DfT for new technology is also being used to replace old streetlights with new LED lights and is expected to result in energy savings of £500,000 this year.