By Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA)
Poor air quality is now linked to an estimated 40,000 deaths in the UK every year. As an industry, we are obliged to do our part to improve the situation.
The Government has announced bold targets in this month’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy and acknowledged industry support is vital. We want to work with Government and local authorities in driving this move to greener, cleaner transport.
It is the best way of ensuring progress delivers improvements to air quality without unfairly penalising fleet operators.
Analysis shows that rental and leasing sectors contribute £49 billion to GDP, support the employment of 465,900 people and buy 83% of vehicles assembled in the UK which are sold to domestic customers.
The industry spent £30bn buying more than 1.8 million vehicles in 2017. Over the same period, an estimated 1.4 million vehicles, equivalent to a quarter of the industry’s entire fleet, entered the used-vehicle market, contributing £1.7bn to UK GDP.
These credentials underline why we’ve been co-hosting regional roundtables with Fleet News, ACFO and Energy Saving Trust alongside local authorities in the vanguard of Clean Air Zone cities.
It’s vital that local business and fleet operators are part of the conversation to ensure a model is created that balances the multiple needs of each community.
We’ve also vowed to increase the number of ultra-low emission vehicles by launching our own ‘Plug-in Pledge’. We’ve set a target for our members’ combined plug-in vehicle fleet size to surge from 50,000 to 720,000 by 2025.
In seven years’ time vehicle rental and leasing companies will be buying 300,000 plug-in vehicles per year, an increase in the industry’s share of annual new plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicle registrations from 36% to 60%.
This can only be achieved if the Government offers infrastructure and tax incentives.
We are asking it to: bring forward plug-in company car tax incentives now and not in 2020; provide a five-year commitment on plug-in vehicle incentives; and offer more infrastructure support for businesses looking to deploy large plug-in fleets.