A car club which offers low cost eco-friendly car hire to residents and businesses in the North East is to expand following a £260,000 boost.

Over the next 12 months an additional 20 Co-wheels cars, including at least eight electric vehicles, will be made available for people to hire on a pay-as-you-go basis.

As well as expanding in its existing areas of Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham and Northumberland, the Co-wheels car club will also be launched in North Tyneside and Sunderland.

Co-wheels members can book cars from £3.75 per hour, or £22.50 for 24 hours, and cars are located in convenient places.

The North East Combined Authority (neca), together with Co-wheels and Nexus, submitted the successful funding bid to Carplus, which oversees the provision of car clubs across the country.

The funding will also be used to examine the feasibility of integrating Co-wheels vehicle hire with the existing Pop smart travel ticket through a partnership with Nexus, which provides local transport services on behalf of neca.

Lead member for transport on neca, Cllr Nick Forbes, said: “We’re delighted to have secured this £260,000 funding, which will bring benefits for residents and help us to develop convenient, low cost and low carbon transport options.

“It will make a significant contribution to more sustainable travel in the area and keep us on track to becoming greener.”

Paul Balmont, managing director of Co-wheels, said: “We are excited to be working with neca and Nexus to expand and bring the service to many more residents and businesses.

“The North East has always been a priority area for us and the demand for cost effective, convenient and low carbon transport options is increasing daily.”

Co-wheels already has 600 members across the North East.

For more information on Co-wheels, including how to join and how the scheme works, people can visit www.co-wheels.org.uk/northeast