Merton residents will be able to rent an electric car for free in a new vehicle sharing initiative.

The council has arranged for people living in the borough to sign up for a year’s free membership with Bluecity. Users will be able to rent or return a vehicle at an electric charging point by tapping in with their contactless cards.

People living or working in Merton can subscribe via the website and use the code EARLYBIRD10 to redeem a year’s free membership (usually £5 per month) and 10 hours of free driving (usually 17p per minute – minimum charge of £3.40). All that is needed to subscribe is a valid driving licence and a credit or debit card.

The company provides rental cars that are powered by renewable energy, and on-street electric charging points.

Merton already has a 21 on-street charge points but this is set to increase to 50. The scheme is in a bid to improve air quality across the borough.

Councillor Martin Whelton, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Housing for Merton Council, said: “We know, that with the rest of the country, we have to make every effort to ensure the air in Merton is a clean as it can be.

“Expanding our network of electric charging points gives residents and visitors to the borough greater opportunity to travel in a more environmentally-friendly way.”