Fleet News

Fury as Prescott snubs fleet industry

FLEET industry chiefs are furious at not being invited to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's 'roads summit' where he outlined 'a better deal for Britain's motorists' in the 21st century'. Monday's summit brought together invited representatives from various transport organisations. It was organised 48 hours ahead of Wednesday's publication of the Transport Bill.

This will outline his strategies for tackling road congestion, improving Britain's road infrastructure and public transport network. Those attending said Prescott's overriding aim was to demonstrate that the Government was not anti-motorist. During the meeting, he promised to spend £1.4 billion on 37 bypasses, tackle 100 congestion 'hot-spots', no congestion charging schemes outside London for 'at least four or five years, and insiders believe he intimated that workplace parking charges may never be introduced.

ACFO and the BVRLA heard about the summit from newspaper and radio reports and both organisations reacted with fury at being left out in the cold. A Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions spokesman later said he 'didn't know' why the two groups had not been invited. ACFO director Stewart Whyte attempted to gain access to the summit at the DETR's London headquarters but he was refused entry.

He said: 'The meeting was about influencing road and vehicle use and fleets do that. Motor manufacturers have a view but they don't influence road use. The fleet industry has been snubbed and it would have been helpful to have been at the meeting.' BVRLA director general Norman Donkin was equally outraged, saying: 'The rental and leasing industry has a significant role to play in developing a new transport strategy and I am extremely disappointed, to say the least, not to have been invited to participate.'

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