Fleet News

Fleets in call for new talks with Minister

FLEET decision-makers are asking for face-to-face talks with Transport Minister John Spellar after he urged the industry to play a more direct role in influencing future debate on Britain's traffic problems.

Spellar issued the call at the Fleet News Facing the Future conference, saying fleets had to engage in the 'wider transport debate' because of their leading role in introducing the newest and cleanest vehicles to Britain's roads.

The Association of Car Fleet Operators, which represents more than 700 fleet decision-makers, has written to Spellar asking for the talks.

ACFO welcomed Spellar's initiative, but urged the Minister to formally invite fleet decision-makers for talks if he was serious about the future role of the industry in influencing transport issues.

Stewart Whyte, director of the association, whose members operate more than 600,000 vehicles, said: 'I welcome his invitation but would urge him to be more positive and host a meeting with ACFO leaders.

'That way he will get his wish for fleet decision-makers to help shape future debate on key transport issues.

'The Government loves to talk to us when we can help its efficiency or when it wants to maximise tax revenues. But despite our attempts at dialogue in the past it has not been interested in talking to ACFO about anything in relation to the law, roads, traffic congestion or future developments. It has been a very one-sided relationship.'

ACFO has already held regular dialogue with organisations including the Inland Revenue, HM Customs & Excise and the DVLA on a number of fleet issues.

Whyte added: 'When we have offered to become involved in wider transport discussions around road building, traffic congestion and road pricing the Government has refused to talk to us. I look forward to receiving an invitation to a meeting and have written to the Minister.'

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