Fleet News

More green help on the way for fleets

A surge in interest among fleets wanting to go green has led the Energy Saving Trust to comprehensively re-evaluate the scale of its offering.

The review could lead to it almost doubling the number of consultants it employs.

According to Sara Pearce, at the Energy Saving Trust (EST), “a surge in interest for Green Fleet Reviews” has led to the need for more green fleet consultants.

The EST already has a panel of 12 independent fleet management specialists but is looking to increase its resources across the country, possibly increasing the number of consultants to 24.

It needs to improve coverage in Scotland and Wales in particular.

EST’s Tamsin Olejnik said: “Environmental issues have undoubtedly worked their way up the business agenda in the last year or two.

“And the reputation of the Energy Saving Trust within the fleet industry as the best source of independent advice and evaluation, has increased.”

A survey conducted by GE Commercial Finance Fleet Services in May put environmental issues at the top of the list of concerns for 94% of fleets.

But fleet managers at a green fleet event at Rockingham in April complained about the lack of quality independent advice on environmental matters.

Government support to green fleet initiatives has lacked consistency. The PowerShift grant, which subsidised the purchase of environmentally-friendly vehicles, was abandoned in April 2005, much to the anger of manufacturers and customers.

The EST’s Motorvate initiative was relaunched this year after the trust acknowledged failings of its earlier scheme. Some of the scheme’s critics blamed low awareness and over-complication, while others have suggested it was simply ahead of its time.

New emphasis is now being placed on monitoring, follow-up support and long-term impact, and the EST says it needs to recruit more consultants from the fleet sector to deliver this.

Specialists are needed to understand the needs of individual clients and “sell” the business case for improved environmental policies.

The EST will increase the number of Green Fleet Reviews it carries out and encourage take up of the new-look Motorvate with its accreditation scheme and awards.

Commenting on the news of the projected increase, a spokesperson for ACFO said: “This is to be welcomed primarily as a positive signal of the government’s longer-term commitment to greener fleet management.

“Quite a number of ACFO members have already benefited from EST Green Fleet Reviews, and there does seem to be a growing demand to meet operator concerns to improve environmental policies.

“So long as the quality of the advice remains sound, and based on a blend of overall best fleet practice and realistic advice, ACFO welcomes this move.”

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