Supply chain · 26 October 2017

Fleet sector calls for greater emissions reduction advice for small businesses

white van
Vehicles in central London that don’t meet emissions standards will pay a £10 fee

Vehicle–owning small businesses, that are set be affected by emissions reduction targets, need more support from the fleet sector to stay ahead of regulatory and legislative changes, the AA has said.

A report published by motoring association the AA has found that small business owners are increasingly frustrated by manufacturers that aren’t prioritising them in terms of giving fleet advice and support, due their relatively small fleet sizes.

In an AA survey, just 26 per cent of fleet managers at small businesses said their role involved focusing on long-term fleet management, which may include plans to switch to alternative fuels to cut emissions, for example.

The findings come as new emissions reduction legislation is introduced in London. From 23 October, vehicles driving through central London which fail to meet minimum exhaust emissions standards must pay a £10 fee, in addition to the daily congestions charge.

The £10 penalty forms part of London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Toxicity charge (or “T-charge”) scheme. Between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, it will now cost businesses £21.50 to drive each pre-Euro 4 vehicle in their fleet through the centre of the UK capital city. Pre-Euro 4 vehicles are typically diesel or petrol models registered before 2006.

With small business owners under mounting pressure to future-proof their vehicles, head of fleet services and SME at the AA, Stuart Thomas, said that now was the time for the fleet industry to increase its level of support.

Thomas added: “We urge the automotive industry to provide the support businesses require to help them to anticipate upcoming legislation and reduce costs. Small businesses which will be affected are likely to be hit hard by the introduction of the T-charge, which almost doubles the cost of driving a vehicle through London during peak hours.”

On 12 October, the government published its long-awaited Clean Growth Strategy – its plan to cut levels of air pollution and emissions. The plan sets out proposals to reduce emissions across the economy and the UK as a whole, including in business, housing, transport and energy sectors.

“As emissions reduction becomes a focus for the UK’s large cities, businesses are under pressure to ensure they comply with any future targets,” Thomas went on to say.

“Fleet managers feel required to investigate alternative fuel sources, but may not have enough information to make strategic decisions, or feel supported by the industry to take an informed step forward.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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