Fleet News

Firms hold back on green policies

THE vast amount of disjointed information and legislation on green issues is causing many fleets to hold off putting environmentally-friendly programmes in place.

Research from leasing company ALD Automotive found that only a quarter of companies were beginning to analyse ways of cutting carbon emissions, despite a raft of legislation that could impact on fleets.

ALD spoke to 140 fleets on a range of green issues and found that only 16% were moving away from operating vehicles emitting more than 225kg of CO2 and less than half said they encouraged company car drivers to select low-emitting cars.

The company’s marketing director, David Yates, said: ‘The majority of companies still need to focus much more closely on reducing the carbon footprint of their vehicle fleets.’

Stewart Whyte, director of fleet consultancy Fleet Audits, said there were several issues to address.

He said: ‘The first is the lack of concern across the fleet industry about controlling fuel costs. If they are not even concerned about that, why would they worry about being green?’

Whyte said there were many examples of best practice in fleets that showed that being green was possible, but boardrooms across the country do not give enough consideration to the matter.

He said although plenty of information was available from the government, it was often disjointed, adding: ‘It’s confusing and there’s simply no appearance of a coherent strategy from government to lead on this.’

Whyte said organisations such as the Energy Saving Trust and the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership were good places for fleets to go to for advice.

Michelle Hallam, fleet manager of Fisher Scientific, said diesel was the only realistic option for company car fleets at the moment. She said government urges to ‘go green’ were little more than a PR exercise.

‘The Government has got to be seen to be looking at being greener, so it’s an image thing,’ she said.

Hallam also said she felt low-emitting cars were not desirable enough for user-chooser drivers.

‘Cars like the Prius don’t really appeal to the young salesperson,’ she said.

But John Bradley, fleet manager for Hampshire Police, said: ‘I think there’s more than enough information. I don’t think there’s any excuse for people to bury their head in the sand and say they don’t know what it’s about.’

Bradley said fleet operators not embarking on green programmes may have other pressures on them, from end users, financial managers and other sources. And he added that user-choosers may want a particular car regardless of its green credentials.

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