Fleet News

Retiring fleet chief issues green plea

AWARD-winning fleet manager Gwilym Anthony says businesses must think about the future of the planet as they draw up company car policies, in a retiring rallying cry to the industry. Anthony, who retires in May as sustainable development officer at the Department of Social Security and was the first civil servant to win a Fleet News Award, says every company in Britain should operate a 'green' fleet policy.

And with the transport and environmental issues at the top of the Government agenda, Anthony says the fleet industry could become the benchmark of governmental transport policies if company car and van fleets are operated professionally and sustainably. He said: 'The more professionally trained and qualified fleet operators become, the more their voice will be heard in the boardroom. As the vanguard of the industry, they must be able to provide a clear analysis of transport issues to the government and in this way have a say or influence over policies.'

He added: 'Environmental considerations must be one of the main drivers in fleet decisions today and must remain the overriding element in assuring the transport contribution to sustainable development - which is the single most important consideration for future generations.' Anthony first worked as regional administrator in the office of Social Security Appeal Tribunal, South London division. He was then appointed as the DSS departmental transport officer, a post he held from 1988 to 1999, after which he became the DSS's sustainable development officer. He is due to retire shortly before his 60th birthday. Val Cowan has been appointed as his successor.

Anthony is credited for having successfully introduced and piloted a number of schemes which won him the accolade of Fleet Manager of the Year for Large Fleets at the Fleet News Awards in 1994. 'I regarded this as an achievement for all my staff and the public sector for the first time being recognised as being the vanguard of the professional fleet industry,' he said. Anthony said the main problem fleet managers faced was how to motivate their drivers to act responsibly and how to make their fleet sustainable and environmentally friendly.

'If we invest more on 'green' fleets today, we will reap huge profits tomorrow. We have got to look at the bigger picture. We have got to look ahead. A change in attitude is needed and we see many operators veering toward that direction,' he said. 'Even bank managers are now paying attention to environmental concerns and their shareholders want them to act responsibly by adopting environmentally-conscious policies.'

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