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Letters to Fleet News editor Martyn Moore.

Counting costs of congestion charges

I read with interest articles in Fleet News in recent weeks concerning the London congestion charge.

With the various changes, challenges and uncertainties surrounding the scheme in the nation’s capital, it seems little attention is currently being paid to how similar schemes would work if set up in major cities throughout the UK.

With a number of local authorities in the UK considering their own road pricing initiatives, there’s a danger that businesses could be hit hard unless a centralised approach is taken.

If a number of individual congestion charges are operated throughout the UK, business travellers may have to register separately for each scheme.

Those that make regular trips between major cities would then have to pay a number of different congestion charges individually – creating a blizzard of paperwork with multiple registrations and multiple payments.

In addition, the increased transport costs for companies that regularly have employees travelling between the country’s big towns and cities could prove significant.

To avert this situation, a centralised approach must be adopted from the very beginning.

Any discussion focused on setting up a congestion charge should have involvement from central Government from the outset. I’m open to ideas as to who can fill that centralised role, whether it be someone like the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency or a newly-formed central Government body. Either way, there’s a definite need for it.

 

David Brennan
Managing director, LeasePlan UK

Tired of unhelpful advice

How typical of Sir Mark Moody-Stuart to fire off about banning cars which do not achieve more than 35mpg, when owning two cars himself that can’t even get up to 20mpg (February 28).

I’m tired of toffee-nosed twits like him pontificating about what we should be doing, while sitting in his ivory tower living life exactly as he pleases.

It is hard enough for us fleet managers running our cars and vans to the best of our ability against mounting legislation without having people like him sticking their noses in.

I do my best to run an environmentally-friendly fleet but it isn’t easy.

We actually had a Toyota Prius like Sir Mark for a few days for appraisal and we found it wasn’t returning any better miles per gallon than some of our diesel cars.

And what about vans? We can’t even get miles per gallon figures for most commercial vehicles, so how on earth are we supposed to ensure we buy the most fuel-
efficient models?

If Sir Snooty Moody-Stuart wants to do something useful, how about a campaign demanding that all van manufacturers publish their mpg and CO2 emissions figures – the law at present states that these figures must be gathered by the manufacturers but they don’t have to publish them.

But, I suppose he probably owns an Aston Martin van, too.

 

Peter Withers
By email

 

Tell police to get on their bikes

With reference to your story about blue-light fleets and accident rates (February 14), perhaps someone has overlooked the obvious way to ensure such accidents are minimised.

Simply take away their vehicles and give them bicycles instead.

Think of the fringe benefits. It’s green, meaning less pollution. It’s great PR that the police are no longer killing and maiming so many innocent members of the public on the roads. 

Police officers will be getting valuable exercise, so will be much fitter – all the better for “restraining” real criminals.

They will also be less of a drain on the NHS, later in life.
Surely a win-win situation, don’t you think?

 

Alan Darcy
Lascar Electronics

Fuel card decision can be a mistake

With the new financial year looming, firms may be reviewing their free fuel policies and encouraging their staff to think about their fuel allowance.

While free fuel remains an attractive benefit for some, given the cost implications due to the tax changes (an increase to the fuel benefit charge multiplier was announced in the Chancellor’s pre-budget statement which will see it rise from £14,400 to £16,900 on April 6 this year), employees may consider their position.

Unfortunately, some companies link the provision of a fuel card to the free fuel benefit and drivers that choose to relinquish the benefit also have to return their fuel card.

However, taking this decision will often be an expensive mistake.

By dropping the fuel card, businesses are losing the tool that can best help them manage fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

 

Mike Waters
Head of market insight, Arval

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