Fleet News

Building society introduces 'green' policy to beat new BIK tax

YORKSHIRE Building Society has adopted a 'green' fleet policy in a bid to offset the new carbon dioxide-based company car tax regime.

Drivers are being encouraged to switch to diesel cars and are financially rewarded when opting for alternatively-fuelled vehicles. They are also asked to cut back on business miles.

Mary Blackwell, Yorkshire Building Society's costs/contract manager, is responsible for a user-chooser fleet of 250 vehicles run on a four-year/66,000-mile contract hire deal with ARVAL PHH. Last year the company's sales teams and regional and area managers covered two million business miles.

The company held seminars to show drivers how the changes would affect their annual tax bill and drivers were also offered one-to-one sessions to calculate their own unique tax position.

'Every order for a new car has been checked with drivers to make sure they are fully aware of the tax implications of their choice of vehicle,' said Blackwell.

The new company fleet policy means that all new perk drivers must take a cash-for-car allowance, which allows drivers to escape paying company car tax altogether, even though perk drivers are likely to gain most from the new tax system.

Drivers are also encouraged to opt for diesel vehicles because many offer lower CO2 emissions than their petrol counterparts and as a result will minimise their tax burden under the new system.

Blackwell estimates that the majority of her drivers will either be tax neutral under the new regime or slightly better off, but Blackwell is encouraging them to opt for diesels to keep their tax bills even lower. By the end of the year, she expects the fleet to have gone from 8 per cent diesel to 50 per cent.

While the company does not financially reward drivers who opt for low-emissions diesel vehicles, drivers opting for liquefied petroleum gasoline vehicles will have their benchmark allowance increased by 15 per cent.

With the help of TransportAction PowerShift, the Government-funded programme that pays for up to 60 per cent of the conversion cost or extra purchase cost of alternatively-fuelled vehicles, the building society runs 10 LPG vehicles on its fleet.

As part of the environmentally-friendly fleet policy, Blackwell is also working to reduce business miles by placing more emphasis on other modes of travel such as public transport and car share schemes. Employees are also encouraged to use videoconferencing.

To help minimise the impact of business on the community, the company has joined Motorvate, the Government's 'green' fleet scheme, which aims to cut fleets' carbon dioxide emissions by 12 per cent over three years, 3 per cent of which must be achieved through mileage cuts.

'Promoting an environmentally-friendly fleet policy goes hand-in-hand with the Government's CO2-based company car tax scheme. And it allows the company to promote the eco-friendly aspect of its business,' said Blackwell.

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