Businesses are being encouraged to take advantage of a new scheme offering to install electric vehicle charging points - in many cases for free.

Charge My Street, a community benefit society, is working with Cumbria Action for Sustainability to identify 100 host sites for electric vehicle charge points in Cumbria and Lancashire.

To be considered for the scheme, the host business must; have adjoining spaces for at least two electric vehicles to park and charge; have good mobile data coverage or an open broadband signal; be accessible to the public at least overnight and be near residential areas with limited off-street parking options.

The charge points are operated through a mobile phone app and will be open to use by the public as well as customers and staff of the host site.

In most cases there is no installation charge. The only exception is when Electricity North West has to carry out work to upgrade the grid connection.

Charge My Street bears the cost of the electricity used and is responsible for the charge point’s upkeep and maintenance.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is encouraging firms to take advantage of the scheme.

Chamber chief executive Rob Johnston said: “The Chamber is keen to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and so help in the effort to combat climate change. Charge My Street’s scheme fits well with that.

“It will be particularly attractive to retail and hospitality businesses that have off-street parking."