Fleet News

Follow authorities' green lead, MP tells ministers

GOVERNMENT fleets should follow the lead of local authorities on how to adopt 'greener' fleet motoring initiatives Paul Burstow, Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton and Cheam, has spent the last few months quizzing ministers on the size of Government department fleets, fuels used and future plans.

But, he says the response has been disastrous with 14 departments - including the Department of the Environment, Transport and Regions which launched the drive for higher standards in the white paper 'A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone' - failing to give requested information.

Meanwhile, Burstow says local authorities are implementing initiatives suggested in July's integrated transport white paper, including the London Borough of Sutton in his own constituency. He said: 'The Government is simply playing lip service to the environmental matters. It seems incredible that many Government departments do not have access to how many vehicles they have currently got on fleet, never mind when they are going to be replaced and with what fuels.

'It is quite easy to see what steps can be taken by looking at the London Borough of Sutton. Already this council has converted 17%, 22 vehicles, of its 130-strong fleet on to alternative fuels, mostly liquefied petroleum gas, but also electric cars and vans. The authority plans to have this figure at 59% by the end of next year.'

Burstow's results show that in 1998/99 only 0.11% of those vehicles due for replacement at the Treasury's 3,592-strong fleet will run on environmentally friendly fuels. This percentage will only increase to 0.35% for the following year. From 1998 to 2001 the Lord Chancellor's Office will have no vehicles run on environmentally friendly fuels, as will the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Home Secretary Jack Straw has stated in the House of Commons that none of the Home Office's 1,305-strong fleet will be converting to alternate fuels in the near future.

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