Drivers of change
Gerry Keaney, BVRLA chief executive
1) We would like the introduction of a fairer, simpler tax regime that continues to incentivise fleets as early adopters of low emission vehicles.
2) Continue to modernise the motoring agencies, while ensuring that they do not result in unforeseen administrative burdens being placed on the fleet sector.
3) Help fleets tackle the key transport challenges of congestion, air quality and safety by creating a regulatory environment that supports the introduction of new automotive technology and mobility business models.
4) Introduce minimum requirements for the standards of roads and ensure there is a greater focus on preventative maintenance.
5) Reintroduce road safety targets and ensure injuries sustained in work‐related traffic incidents are included as part of RIDDOR reports.
Liz Hollands, fleet and facilities manager, Freight Transport Association
My wish would be for much more visible road traffic policing. If we can't have that, then average speed cameras seem to work well at regulating traffic flow.
John Pryor, chairman, ACFO
ACFO fears a creeping privatisation with regards to road charging. Fleet manager administration would be simplified and reduced if a single centralised database held vehicle data for all road charging schemes.
The launch of each new charging regime results in a further administrative burden for fleet managers in terms of keeping vehicle account information up to date – new vehicles are added and defleeted vehicles removed immediately to avoid the risk of fines or inadvertent payment.
One of the reasons why many fleets have not embraced electric vehicles is because of a lack of a viable refueling infrastructure. We are discovering that vehicle technology is running ahead of infrastructure – the same could be said for driverless cars – so the new government needs to keep pace with such advances and not lag behind.
Robert Pieczka, marketing & insurance director, Arval UK
For the benefit of businesses and their drivers we would hope for a continued freeze on fuel duty. The driver already bears a high cost in the UK with a large chunk of the price of fuel purchased made up of tax.
While tax bands need to be aligned to developments in vehicle technology, it is important not to discourage the selection of low emission vehicles. There’s no doubt that take‐up is increasing as businesses and their drivers start to understand the practical circumstances in which to deploy this kind of vehicle and we would be disappointed if tax policy had a negative influence on this trend.
We would welcome clarity around Approved Mileage Allowance Payment (AMAP) rates for electrichybrids and fully electric vehicles which is an area that
hasn’t been addressed in previous Budgets. With these vehicles becoming a more common addition to the company vehicle fleet, a clear and consistent position would be useful for businesses.
Richard Schooling, chief executive, Alphabet
The key challenge for the next government is to ensure it takes a truly holistic view of the transport infrastructure and business travel – joining up the dots of public, private and commercial transport networks – to make truly strategic, enlightened and far‐reaching decisions.
The decisions the next government makes to support more connected, smarter business mobility can not only build upon the progress made over the past 20 years in terms of road safety, minimising environmental impacts and reducing congestion, but can also set the foundation for the long term prosperity of businesses and the country as a whole.
Simon Oliphant, chief executive, Hitachi Capital
Investment in the road network is vital to keeping the country moving. Investment in public transport, such as HS1, HS2 and even Crossrail, are excellent ways to reduce congestion and emissions, a key factor over the next decade, but it’s important to consider the impact these services will have.
Superfast broadband and innovations in technology will also be an increasingly valuable alternative to face‐to‐face meetings, especially with improvements in audio, visual and connected technology.
However, all of these elements are driving change in their individual silos; for a truly ‘connected’ future, all of these improvements, and importantly their impact, should be considered together. In 2030, we could have driverless cars with internet access and the ability to go between London and Birmingham in 40 minutes but, if we have reliable HD video conferencing, will there still be demand for this service? From our perspective, having a truly connected and related future vision is critical.
Andrew Benfield, group director of transport, Energy Saving Trust
We support a national network of LEZs but they must fit within a national policy framework to ensure compliance by vehicle manufacturers and operators does not create unnecessary costs.
The public sector’s enthusiasm for plug‐in vehicles is leading to emission reductions and large‐scale cost savings. We believe central and local government fleets should be supported to develop low emission transition strategies to build on this momentum. With an average UK commute of less than 10 miles and with six in ten commuters travelling by car, plugin vehicles are ideal to reduce the cost of living and air pollution. Support for workplace charging will open a new market for plug‐in vehicles.
An Office for Air Quality would unify government leadership on this critical transport issue. Its goal would be coordinate air quality work across Government, ensuring skills and capacity exist so planned infrastructure improvements can be delivered effectively.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research, IAM
The implementation of an internationally recognised standard like ISO 39001 is something that all fleets should have to show they take road safety seriously, and have an active interest in improving the skills and attitudes of fleet drivers and riders across the country.
The IAM is advocating public sector procurement guidelines that insist work should only go to companies that carry the ISO 39001 accreditation. Any organization that invests in this will see an increased number of staff, customers and the general public benefitting from it too
What are the political parties proposing…?
The Conservatives earmarked £15bn to continue ongoing upgrades to the road network in the Autumn Statement.
Said to be the largest programme of its type since the 1970s, this includes widespread resurfacing and junction improvements. Highspeed rail and capped fares are on the agenda, enabling businesses to grow in the north of the country. Ongoing work includes clearing radio frequencies for high‐speed mobile broadband, estimated to have a £1.3bn value for the UK economy, and extending the SME connection voucher scheme.
Labour is proposing devolving transport decision‐making to city and county councils, which will enable them to make their own decisions on local roads, regulate bus and train fares and introduce smart‐ticketing as used in London.
It aims to set strict caps on annual rail fare increases, and allow public sector operators to challenge private companies for control of certain lines. Cyclists will be offered a national set of standards, to improve safety and make it more accessible.
The Liberal Democrats’ pre‐manifesto addresses congestion issues largely through modernising public transport.
This includes upgrading and expanding the railway network, with new stations and local lines and support of the HS2 scheme. Early steps towards a decarbonised UK in 2050 involve supporting the EV market by adding charging points, bolstering cycling infrastructure and progressively raising green criteria for public procurement, while high‐speed broadband is planned for 99% of the country. The party has no plans for a net increase in runways to grow capacity.