The company has commissioned Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services to customise a fleet of 140 3.5-tonne Vauxhall Movano vans. The vehicles, which are due to be completed and delivered by the end of this year, have been designed to ensure the safety of the specialist installation team by guaranteeing that the van load is never overweight.

Hitachi Capital says it's take a number of actions to increase the payload capacity of the vehicles and reduce the general load of its contents.

The Vauxhall Movano has been introduced into the British Gas fleet, the body of which has been built from a lightweight composite material. This has increased the overall payload by 400kg to 1450kg. The leasing provider also developed a lightweight blower, weighing 50kg less than the standard UK version.

'Increasing the payload that the van can take is a big step forward in tackling the issue. But there is more that can be done. In conjunction with a leading European suspension manufacturer, we have developed a piece of hardware which is carried in the cab of the van and constantly weighs the vehicle. Based on a traffic light scheme, it will alert the driver if the load of the vehicle is nearing its limit or if the van is illegally overweight, allowing the crew to take immediate action,' said Jon Lawes, divisional managing director at Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services.

'The dangers of travelling in overweight vehicles are well-known, and we do not take any risks when it comes to the safety of our employees. These vans have been customised for our specific needs so we can make sure that our crews travel safely and that we comply with all relevant regulations,' added Colin Marriott, general manager fleet at Centrica.

The larger payload will also enable British Gas to increase the number of insulation jobs per day, as the vans are now able to carry more bales of insulation.