Fleet News

Fleets face 'closed' town ban if vehicles are not clean-fuelled

CLEAN fuel vehicles will unlock the door to 'closed' town and city centres in the future and fleets which fail to adopt them could be barred. Transport minister Dr John Reid said low emission zones could be a familiar sight in town centres in the future, with only the cleanest vehicles allowed to enter.

At the first national Clean Fuel Vehicles: 'A vision becomes a reality' conference, organised by the Government-sponsored Powershift programme, Reid said local authorities had to create action plans to deal with poor air quality and that low emissions zones should be a priority. He added that these plans would clean up the air and also act as a catalyst for fleets and private motorists to operate clean fuel vehicles.

Leith Penny, head of environment at Westminster City Council, said his authority was looking into the creation of a low emission zone and examining the hurdles that might stand in the way. He said: 'From a fleet manager's perspective, alternative fuels may be the key to tomorrow's city centres.' He added that councils should work directly with fleet operators to encourage them to make the change to alternative fuels.

But Niki Leahy, Vauxhall's environmental affairs manager, told the audience, including fleet managers, that they must take care not to be blinded by the alternative fuel option. She said that research had shown that diesel still had the lowest environmental cost, although alternative fuels were very important and it was down to fleets to lead the way.

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