Fleet News

Blair lays down green challenge

PRIME Minister Tony Blair has issued a direct challenge to UK businesses and fleets to lead the world in investment in clean fuel vehicles.

Blair says, in a hard-hitting RAC Foundation report, 'Motoring Towards 2050', about the future of transport in the next 50 years, calls the challenge of meeting the combined demands of transport and the environment 'one of the biggest faced by any Government'.

But he adds: 'It is essential that we make the best use of the infrastructure we have. Technology can help with that and - through low carbon, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles - reduce environmental impacts.

'I want UK companies to lead the global shift to low carbon transport. We have fiscal policies and other programmes designed to bring this about.'

The Government has stated in its Powering Future Vehicles Strategy that annual sales of fuel cell, hybrid and gas-powered models would reach more than 250,000 within 10 years.

Blair's comments introduced the RAC Foundation report, which claims that fuel cell vehicles will equal the number of petrol and diesel powered vehicles by 2030.

The report also warned that congestion charging was a necessary evil to combat growing levels of traffic and said a timetable for examining potential for a national congestion charging programme should be introduced by the end of 2003.

It said 10% of the UK road network will have to face charging to stop congestion getting worse and comes amid claims the Government is working on plans for a national network of toll roads to speed up traffic.

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: 'In 2050, cars are likely to fulfil a very similar role to their present counterparts but they will do so in a leaner, cleaner and safer manner. The extent to which they are allowed to travel anywhere on the roads at any time will depend on policies adopted in relation to traffic congestion in general and to city centre access in particular.'

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