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Letters to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Give us incentives to go green

The survey by cfc Solutions “More fleets add to call for green help” (Fleet News, April 26) highlights a point that has been of concern to the entire sector for some time, namely the lack of incentives for businesses to make their fleets greener.

The government has, to date, been great at the stick approach – drivers in high-emission vehicles face prohibitive BIK tax bills and their employers have to pay more on VED and business fuel.

However, we have as yet seen very little of the carrot, where fleets are actively encouraged to run greener fleets.

We have lobbied Defra to introduce major tax breaks for businesses that encourage greener motoring among employees.

We want to see tax incentives for firms that undergo a green fleet audit and introduce the resulting recommendations, as well as concessions for low-emission vehicles on national road charging schemes and financial incentives for businesses to use biofuel vehicles.

The government has an opportunity to reinforce its commitment to greener motoring. By merely taxing the bad rather than encouraging the good, it is failing in its environmental agenda.

The current company car tax system was definitely a step in the right direction but we need additional measures aimed at employers.

Only by offering direct financial incentives will the Treasury persuade UK businesses to take on a much more environmentally-friendly approach to transport.

DAVID BRENNAN
Managing director, LeasePlan UK

Unwary drivers could be snared in net

I read the article “MIB to rescue on database directive” (Fleet News, April 26) with interest.

Although we support the police crackdown on uninsured drivers, we are concerned that fleet drivers may be snared in the net, even though the insurance has been renewed.

It is vital that employers communicate this problem to their drivers to ensure that, should they get pulled over by police while on the road, drivers are aware of their paperwork requirements.

Although this is a potentially big problem for fleet managers, it could also be a nightmare for smaller businesses where there is no dedicated fleet resource and where an impounded vehicle could have a huge impact on the business’s bottom line.

The insurance industry has a big education job ahead of it in the coming months to ensure that those who are perhaps a little tardy in renewing and updating their insurance cover don’t find themselves losing their company vehicles.

Adrian Waters
Head of SME, AA Business Services

Drive Fred-in-the-sheds out of town

I would like to congratulate Phill Tromans on his excellent article “Taking on car repair cowboys” (Fleet News, April 26).

At long last there was an article drawing into stark relief the importance of safe repairs, the complexities of today’s modern motor vehicles and the awful dangers of ignoring either or both.

For far too long the focus has been on cost.

This allows the ubiquitous “Fred-in-the-shed”, who flouts health and safety laws, has no regard for environmental legislation, whose staff are not trained and subsequently have little or no idea about vehicle construction techniques to flourish at the expensive of progressive cost-effective repairers who are trained, do have the correct equipment and can guarantee a safe repair.

You can have quality or you can have cheap, but you cannot have quality cheap. It is as simple as that.

Would anyone buy a child seat or a crash helmet and not look for a Kitemark? Would anyone ask a plumber to fit a boiler and not ask if they were CORGI registered? .

Then why would anyone take £30,000-plus of motor vehicle capable of doing more than 100mph and not ask “Do you know what you’re doing?.”

The fleet sector could have a huge liability. Today’s fleet vehicle is tomorrow’s private vehicle.

If a fleet vehicle is repaired and it is done poorly, and that poor repair causes the vehicle not to perform in a subsequent accident and someone is badly injured or worse, in today’s voracious compensation culture I can see that private motorist running straight to the lawyer. If that lawyer can see a juicy corporate fleet company in his sights, I wonder what he will do.

Fleets also have another responsibility here, a responsibility to ask their insurers or accident managers if the repairers they use are Kitemark repairers? If they are not, ask them to find some that are.

The heavyweight contributors to the article make it clear the repair industry is putting its house in order and now there is a clear choice. Choose wisely.

CHRIS OLIVER
Managing director, AJC Wilson Bodyshop

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