THE University of Southampton is leading the way on a new green scheme.

It has become the first UK university to sign up to a car sharing programme encouraging staff to reduce their carbon footprint and travel costs by travelling together.

The scheme is run by Enterprise Rent-A-Car which has provided two vehicles for the university’s recruitment and outreach department, providing 20 staff with alternative transport.

Suzanne Carlisle, university sourcing manager, said: “When our employees use their own cars we have no way to measure their business mileage and no control over vehicle emissions. The CarShare vehicles instead create a ‘virtual’ car pool of new, low-emission vehicles that our staff can book online and are encouraged to use instead of their own cars.

“We can easily track mileage and CO2, while the amount of admin has also been drastically reduced. Managing all those invoices and reimbursement claims created a huge amount of paperwork and instead we now only have a single monthly invoice.”

The university also uses daily rental vehicles provided by Enterprise and is keen to expand the car sharing programme should it prove as successful as expected.