A PIONEERING car share scheme will be launched in Ludlow next week.

The idea led by the environmental group Ludlow 21 has come to fruition and will start withe two cars that will be shared by members of the scheme.

A Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus Estate are the first two cars that can be hired by people who sign up for the project.

The fiesta has a petrol engine and the focus is powered by a diesel unit.

It is intended that the scheme will be attractive to people who do not want, or cannot afford, to own a car but need access to a vehicle from time to time.

For Ludlow 21 it marks the culmination of nearly a year of work to bring the project to fruition and the cars will be shown off for the first time at the Ludlow Local Produce Market next Thursday.

The Shropshire Car Club is backed by Shropshire County Council and the cars have been provided on a lease basis through an agreement with a national franchise known as ‘Cowheels.’ People who want to use them will need to pay a £25 joining fee after which the use of the vehicles will charged on a mileage basis and hourly basis.

Vehicles can be booked for as little as an hour or for a longer period.

Insurance is included in the charge and the scheme is available to any driver over the age of 18 who has held a licence for a year. It will be available to both individuals and business users.

Members will be issued with a card like a credit card that will be used in the vehicle.

The Ludlow scheme will be the first to be launched in Shropshire will a ‘club’ going live in Shrewsbury later in March.

“We are pleased to have got the scheme going and hope that people will support us,” said David Current of Ludlow 21.

It has been claimed that a car club can provide major savings to people who only need a vehicle occasionally as capital will not be tied up in a vehicle, there will be no depreciation or fixed costs such as insurance and road tax.

The environmental objects of Ludlow 21 are also met in that there should be reduced congestion and only energy efficient vehicles will be used in the scheme.

However, the long term viability will depend upon enough people signing up and it is suggested that 20 members are required to make it work.