A NEW “car club” scheme to help cut air pollution could come to Winchester.

The plans are part of Winchester City Council’s plans to reduce pollution.

The scheme aims to help workers and residents in the city centre make “better” transport choices, and also reduce pollution in the air quality monitoring zone.

The club will give signed-up members the chance to hire a car on an hourly basis for local, short journeys. This can be especially useful for business people who need to attend meetings away from their base, without needing to pay for a pool car which is infrequently used.

Cllr Jan Warwick who is Portfolio Holder for Environment, is looking forward to driving one of the new vehicles.

Cllr Jan Warwick said: “Car clubs are an excellent way of offering more choice of independent transport for people who don’t want to own their own car.

“They are successful in many cities, and could be a real asset to Winchester city centre. Our job now is to work with the best operator for Winchester’s needs.

As reported the city council is looking measures to tackle pollution and the city has a chronic problem, amongst the worst in Hampshire and the Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) was discussed at the last council meeting.

Figures from Public Health England showed that poor air quality contributed to the deaths of some 51 residents.

If pollution is not reduced, the city council could be fined by Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The car club calls on operators to make use of ultra-low emission vehicles, and members can make use of Winchester’s existing and planned electric car charging bays.

Anyone can sign up to a car club scheme, and the council is keen to work with the business community to make it fit for employees to use, and reduce reliance on privately owned cars to commute to work.

Catherine Turness, Executive Director of Winchester BID, said:“Winchester BID fully supports a new car club in Winchester. We are ready to work with the right operator and make sure our local businesses understand the benefits of signing up to a car club. The cost to users is important to us, but more than that is the reliability of the vehicles and the quality customer service.”

Bids to run a car club in Winchester should be submitted by March 29, with details available online at http://bit.ly/2kMAXje

For more information contact Kate Cloud, Head of Economy and Arts at kcloud@winchester.gov.uk or telephone 01962 848 563.