Fleet managers have a 'central role to play in reducing the environmental impact of company vehicles', according to a new Government-backed report and 'need support from senior managers and effective training for this role'.
The comments were published in the final report of the Cleaner Vehicles Task Force, called 'The Way Forward', and were endorsed by Transport Minister Lord Macdonald.
The report says: 'Where trained and knowledgeable staff are in control of fleets, significant levels of environmental achievement and fuel savings will be attained. The business advantages of efficient fleet management need to be recognised and encouraged from top management level. Too often the fleet manager's role and potential contribution to the company's balance sheet are undervalued by the board. Training for fleet managers needs to be recognised as good value.'
The report continued that the value of training would rocket with the introduction of carbon dioxide-based vehicle tax, which would require proactive work from fleet managers to keep their drivers' tax bills down.
Eddie West, one of the founders and a counsel member of the Institute of Car Fleet Management, said: 'This is about the most significant event that has happened in the world of fleet and it is about time too.'
Stewart Whyte, director of the Association of Car Fleet Operators, who campaigned for better recognition of fleet managers in the Task Force's fleet sub-committee, said: 'The report had to be endorsed by top Government representatives and this is exactly the kind of recognition fleets have been waiting for. ACFO has always felt it has been vital to co-operate with Government and lead through partnership. It is wonderful the important role of fleet managers has been recognised.'