The Government has told BVRLA members that it will work with the vehicle rental and leasing sector to find solutions to the UK's major transport issues.
Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the BVRLA, presented transport minister Robert Goodwill and other MPs with the industry’s policy recommendations at a parliamentary reception in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening.
Keaney highlighted the association’s six main recommendations, which called on the Government to:
- Encourage the take-up of autonomous emergency braking and consider making fitment of this technology mandatory for new vehicles
- Introduce a national framework surrounding urban clean air zones, in order to provide fleets with consistency and certainty
- Investigate the possibility of adjusting current and existing road designs to encourage a smoother flow of traffic, thus reducing accidents and the resulting hold-ups, which result in increased NOx emissions
- Continue to support ultra-low emission vehicles via the plug-in grant for all new electric cars and vans
- Support the further encouragement of car clubs across all major cities, with the aim of minimising unnecessary car journeys and reducing emissions and congestion
- Consider in-life incentives for drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles, including free or subsidised parking; or green express lanes in congested areas.to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles.
Many of these points were also made in the Fleet Industry Manifesto, produced by Fleet News, BVRLA and ACFO, which was presented to the major policitical parties ahead of this year's General Election.
Responding directly to these recommendations, Goodwill said: ”I am very grateful to the BVRLA for organising the discussions which have culminated in this evening’s reception.
"There really is no substitute for getting the experts around a table and thrashing out some good ideas.
“As you recognise in your recommendations, governments can make a difference not just through passing new laws or imposing new taxes, but by setting an example and raising awareness - whether of air quality or new car technology.
"And as we look at how far the vehicle manufacturing industry has come in the last few decades, we must also recognise that pioneering fleet managers in the private sector have been great agents of change."
The Government has since announced it will continue to support a revised version of the plug-in car grant.
From March 1, 2016, vehicles with a zero-emission range of more than 70 miles will benefit from a grant of £4,500, while vehicles with a shorter zero-emission range will receive £2,500 provided they cost less than £60,000. Currently, applicants can receive up to £5,000 off the list price of an eligible car.
Commenting on this news, Keaney said: ““We are delighted that the Government has addressed this issue, which has been one of our key policy priorities during 2015.
"This common-sense decision gives rental and leasing companies the confidence they need to continue leading the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles.”
He added: “We look forward to working with the relevant Government departments to ensure our contributors’ input is given proper consideration.
"Acting upon these recommendations would have a major impact in terms of reducing congestion, emissions and accidents while promoting the take-up of new, safe and sustainable transport.”
In attendance at the Parliamentary reception were the transport representatives from each of the three main political parties in government, plus representatives from the Transport Select Committee. In all, over 20 MPs joined a host of BVRLA members and fleet end users.
Early next year, the BVRLA will place detailed policy papers with Government Ministers, senior departmental advisors and other key stakeholders.
These will form the basis for further meetings between the BVRLA and Government officials throughout 2016.