1 April 2016

BVRLA leaders to meet government policymakers to shape fleet agenda

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) is to meet with government policymakers to discuss how its members, which include Activa Contracts, can contribute to safer, greener and more cost-effective motoring.

The meetings follow the publication by the Association of four policy papers on vehicle safety, air quality, business car taxation and intelligent mobility. In addition to detailing the current legislative and policy landscape, the papers also include a series of policy recommendations.

The vehicle safety paper calls on the government to further encourage the take-up of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB). The BVRLA believes that AEB should be made mandatory for all new registered cars and vans, as it now is for HGVs. Towards that objective, the government, it says, should demonstrate leadership in vehicle safety by making AEB a mandatory requirement for all new vehicles procured by its fleet.

In the air quality paper, the Association is lobbying for the implementation of a national framework for Low Emission Zones. That would provide consistency, certainty and, with sufficient notice ahead of their introduction, allow fleet operators to make purchasing decisions without unnecessary financial penalties, it is claimed. The paper also calls on the government to further encourage car clubs across all major cities and publish guidance on how businesses and consumers can join a club.

The tax regime plays a vital role in determining fleet purchasing strategy, says the Association. Therefore the BVRLA’s business car taxation policy paper suggests government reforms company benefit-in-kind ratings, with greater granularity on incentives for the take-up of lower emission vehicles. In particular, it believes a wider differential at the bottom category end would provide a larger incentive for take up of lower – if not ultra-low – emission vehicles over higher emission ones.

The paper also highlights the contribution of company car drivers toward better safety and emissions standards across the national vehicle parc, and warns against increasing the cumulative tax burden on such drivers to unsustainable levels. That, said the BVRLA, was a particular concern given Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s raising of company car benefit-in-kind tax bandings by two percentage points this year, and the deferral of the planned removal of the 3% diesel supplement to 2021.

The final paper – on intelligent mobility – calls on the government to support the introduction of a new ratings system for the cyber security of modern connected vehicles. It also calls for the Information Commissioner’s Office to be given more resources so that it can provide guidance and enforcement in areas of connected vehicle and driver data.

All four papers were drafted following a series of policy roundtables which the BVRLA hosted throughout 2015. These meetings were attended by senior members of the rental and leasing industry, departmental policy specialists, vehicle manufacturers and companies such as BT, Barclays, Diageo, John Lewis, KPMG, and Royal Mail.

BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said: ‘We have consulted with a wide range of fleet operator organisations and believe that the policy measures outlined in these reports could make a major contribution in improving the safety, sustainability and efficiency of road transport in the UK.’