Work has started on an electric car charging station that will be able to charge 24 cars at once.

It is being built on a 2.5 acre site at Great Notley, near Braintree, Essex, by sustainable energy company Gridserve.

The company hopes the roadside forecourt, which will use solar power, will "solve the challenge" of where to charge electric vehicles.

Chief executive Toddington Harper said it was "updating the petrol station model for a net-zero carbon future".

It is set to open in the summer and is due to be the first of more than 100 similar sites around the country.

Conservative MP for Braintree James Cleverly said it was part of the "charging infrastructure that we need to support [the Conservative government] policies".

The UK, which will host the United Nations climate change conference in November, aims to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Conservative councillor Simon Walsh, responsible for climate change at Essex County Council, said: "A rapid switch to electric vehicles... is being held back by a lack of fit-for-purpose charging infrastructure."

He said the forecourt would give people "confidence" to buy electric vehicles.

The electric charging station is in part being paid for by a £4.86m grant from the government.