Car club schemes across England have received a boost as transport minister Baroness Kramer announced the winning bidders for a share of £500,000 government funding.

The awards will fund 50 new vehicles across car club demonstration projects in Derby, Nottingham, Norfolk and West Yorkshire.

Membership of car clubs allows access to low carbon vehicles for short periods of time, often by the hour, on a pay-as-you-go basis. Baroness Kramer launched a funding competition to support pilot projects earlier this year as part of the car club development programme.

Baroness Kramer said: “These investments will give the growing interest in car clubs added momentum. Car clubs cut congestion, reduce carbon and save people money while still giving people the freedom and flexibility to use a car when they want to.

“We can now look forward to the winning towns and cities providing a practical demonstration of the increasing relevance of car clubs to sustainable transport throughout England.”

The four car club demonstration project awards are:

  • Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council: £100,000 funding to grow the Norfolk Car Club in Norwich and across the Greater Norwich area.
  • Derby City Council: £75,000 funding for a new car club starting with 10 city centre car club vehicles available to businesses and residents.
  • Nottingham City Council: £37,500 funding will be used to create five new hubs at key transport interchanges including the train station and Park n’ Ride sites offering access to shared cars. The Nottingham Citycard, an integrated smart ticket which currently offers train, tram and bus travel will also become the ‘key’ to these vehicles.
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority: £37,500 funding to add 20 cars across the authority from York in the north to Halifax in the west, with seamless bus, train and car club travel possible through the MCard.

The Department for Transport says the proportion of carless households has been growing across the country since 2005. At the same time, because people value the convenience that access to a car brings, interest in car clubs is growing.

Across the UK car clubs have more than 180,000 members with over 3,200 cars. This funding will help demonstrate the potential for expanding the coverage across England.

It adds that they make much more efficient use of the limited space available on the road, with estimates suggesting that one car club car can take the place of 17 individually owned vehicles.