AN electric charging points network is being planned along canals in Worcestershire and beyond within the next 20 years.

Transport body Midlands Connect is researching the sustainable future of narrowboats which often grace the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, the Droitwich Canals and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal.

The electric revolution is currently a niche proposition on the network with only a few pilot trials but the Midlands Engine transport partner believes electric-powered boats are expected to become the norm in the decades ahead.

Birmingham-based Midlands Connect said mains chargers are currently limited to marinas and some permanent moorings but by 2040 an effective network of charging points will be required to keep sustainable narrowboats on the move.

Bharat Pathania, head of new technologies, insisted: "All forms of transport are evolving to become more sustainable and this will include our canals.

"Our aim is to identify the building blocks which need to be in place to affect positive influence on the decarbonisation of our canals.

"Securing a future where diesel or solid fuel sources are no longer the norm will boost the air quality for boaters and everyone using these important waterways."

The Worcester and Birmingham Canal is a popular cruising route and connects with the Droitwich Canal at the Hanbury Junction.

Midlands Connect plans to work with partners to determine and map the locations of existing chargers on the canal network across the region and do a study of the requirements for a comprehensive narrowboat charging infrastructure in future.

The work will also identify mechanisms through which the infrastructure could be funded.

Midlands Connect researches, develops and champions long-term transport projects which will provide the biggest possible economic, social and environmental benefits for the Midlands and the rest of the UK.