In response to a Parliamentary written question last week, Transport Minister David Jamieson suggested there might be some hope for fleets waiting for money.
He said: 'In the current financial year, take-up of PowerShift grants has been strong and the year's resources have been fully allocated. However, if existing offers are not fully taken up, the resources will be allocated to organisations or individuals whose grant applications have been placed on the PowerShift waiting list.'
The Energy Saving Trust (EST) estimates that it will provide grants for about 4,000 vehicles for the current financial year under the PowerShift programme, compared to 2,000 vehicles last year.
The trust has an annual grant of £10 million to cover the extra cost of conversions of new cars available through the Power- Shift programme as well as money to convert older, larger vehicles through the CleanUp scheme.
But the Department for Transport told the EST no money would be available for further grants until after April 2004, resulting in all new grant applications being put on a waiting list (Fleet NewsNet November 18).
Although figures for next year's grant programme have not been released, the Government is currently working closely with the EST.
Jamieson said: 'My department is discussing how the trust can support the Government's environmental objectives in future years. Estimates are not yet available for the number of PowerShift grants available in future years.'
The EST is also carrying out a review of vehicle emissions savings resulting from the PowerShift programme since its inception in 1997.