Fleet News

Hypocrisy claims on Government targets

FLEETS have accused the Government of being hypocritical for calling on them to comply with green transport targets when it cannot meet its own.

Last week, we reported how two-thirds of Government department fleets are failing to meet their own green targets.

A report from the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), entitled ‘Leading by Example? Not Exactly…’ castigated departments for providing generally ‘patchy’ information on their CO2 emissions.

When Fleet NewsNet contacted several Government departments, some did not seem to know about the targets.

Industry figures with admirable green credentials are demanding the Government should practice what it preaches. Nigel Trotman is business relationship manager at UK brewery Whitbread, which has been noted for its green fleet initiatives.

He said that private fleets had to convince shareholders the green route was a good idea, but public sector organisations had no such barrier. Government departments had no excuse for their performance, he said.

Trotman added: ‘It should almost be a given. The fact that they have not met their targets does show that perhaps it’s not as easy as it seems. The Government seems to be sending the message ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say’. It should be easier for Government departments.

‘I’m disappointed that they haven’t done better. They need to take the lead.’

But Richard Tarboton, head of the transport business unit at the Energy Saving Trust, was more lenient.

He said: ‘Our experience of Government department fleets is that, typically, vehicles have considerably lower CO2 than is to be found in the private sector.

‘In some cases alternatively fuelled vehicles may not be the most effective method of achieving carbon reduction. Modern diesels with a particulate trap can in some cases offer a greener solution than some alternatively-fuelled vehicles.

‘Green targets are not just about vehicle specification; managing vehicle usage is equally important and there are good examples of some departments reducing car mileage by implementing the right management controls.

‘The fact that government departments have found data gathering quite difficult will be no surprise to private sector organisations.’

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