Fleet News

Concerns over plans to cut alternative fuel conversion grants

PLANS to cut grants for liquefied petroleum gas conversions have sparked an anxious reaction in the fleet industry. Fleets argue that plans to reduce Government-backed PowerShift grants to incentivise alternative fuel vehicles will deter fleets from converting to cleaner fuels such as LPG.

TransportAction PowerShift has published a consultation document that proposes to halve grants in order to spread the money more widely. Currently, fleets can apply for grants of 40% of the additional costs of converting a vehicle to run on cleaner fuels where a reduction of up to 49% of Euro III emissions standard can be achieved. This rises to 60% for a cut of between 50% and 64%, and 75% for an improvement over Euro III by at least 65%.

But the proposals suggest new grant levels of 20%, 30% and 50% for the three bands. Roger Williams, group business development and fleet sales manager at West End Motors, said: 'If we do not stop the plans LPG could cease to exist. It is at a fragile stage in its development and needs fleet backing to become a success.' The plans have also been criticised by Jane Perris, transport and communications manager for Cornwall Healthcare NHS Trust, a former Fleet News Environmental Award finalist and responsible for a fleet of almost 800 vehicles.

She said that cutting grants would discourage fleets from following the 'green' route. 'The PowerShift grant really does make a difference. Fleets need support until conversion costs come down,' said Perris. Jonathan Murray, head of TransportAction PowerShift, said: 'PowerShift needs to look at how to transform LPG from its position as an alternative fuel into a serious challenger to petrol and diesel over the next three years.'

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