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Durham County Council join trial to bring EV charging to homes without off-street parking

County Durham has become  the latest council to trial the Kerbo Charge system, enabling people without a driveway to be able to charge their electric vehicle at home.

Council staff received a training session from Kerbo Charge in how to install the product, which is set into in tarmac or stone pavements directly outside a customer’s home. This consists of a narrow channel (32mm deep, 39mm wide) with a hinged lid in which the user can easily place a charging cable, running it to their car with no trip hazards from trailing cables.

Under the scheme – which has also been trialed in Milton Keynes – the works are carried out by the local authority’s own highways contractor, meaning a Section 50 license is notionally internally granted.

A visual survey is required before the works start to ensure the installation site is not close to a dropped curb, tree roots or a road turning but further survey work is usually not required because the channel is only 32mm deep and so will sit above any buried utilities. The installation takes around one hour.

40% of homes don’t have access to a garage or driveway and, given the disparity in cost between charging at home and using a public charging machine, this represents a significant barrier to adoption for a significant number of people.

The first property to be fitted with a Kerbo Charge was in Sunniside, Crook, one of 30 properties in the county that have been selected to pilot the scheme, which is part-funded by the Council’s Climate Change Investment Fund.

Cllr John Shuttleworth, the Cabinet member for highways, rural communities, and community safety, said: ‘We are delighted to have been selected to pilot this pioneering technology which will make owning an electric vehicle accessible to more of our residents.

‘We decided to be involved in the pilot after residents living in properties without driveways got in touch with us about seeking a solution to charge their electric vehicles. Their properties were checked for suitability before a programme of installation was planned and a contribution towards the install was agreed.

‘County Durham has many terraced streets and properties without driveways. Whilst we have installed hundreds of publicly accessible electric vehicle charge points in every area in the county, this solution will allow residents to access electric vehicle charging at home, making it easier for more people to drive an electric vehicle and reduce their carbon emissions. It also supports our work as part of our Climate Emergency Response Plan where we are working towards reducing emissions across the county.’

Helen Embleton, whose home is part of the pilot, said: ‘I’m very happy to have been part of this pilot which came along at the right time for me ordering an electric vehicle. It really helped solve a practical challenge and I’m extremely pleased with the result.

‘I had excellent communication from the team who kept me informed throughout the process. Thank you to all who made this possible, I’m overjoyed that it’s now in. I’m sure this will benefit many more people in the future.’

Other local authorities in the region were invited to see the first installation with a view to it being installed wider following the pilot.

If the pilot is effective, the scheme will be offered to all residents in the county with a suitable property who will be given the option to pay towards the installation.

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