DfT sustainability committee misses opportunity

Westminster Bridge at sunset, London, UK

Members should view the Environmental Audit Committee’s new report on, ‘Sustainability in the Department for Transport,” with caution. The report is seriously flawed, according to The Fuelcard People. Steve Clarke, group marketing manager, said: “The select committee made some good long-term suggestions, but has missed an opportunity. It could have recommended action that would bring immediate benefits for members’ fleet sustainability. In particular, it could have urged the introduction of measures compelling fleets to monitor and record emissions.”

The committee offered conclusions and recommendations in the areas of government policy and policy making, governance and operations.

Steve Clarke said: “The focus on ultra-low emission vehicles ignores the reality of current technology and infrastructure. Vehicle acquisition cost, in particular, is a deterrent for members. Government should promote ULEVs, but recognising that widespread adoption remains a long-term prospect. Meanwhile, diesel and petrol vehicles will dominate members’ fleets for years to come. Government could achieve widespread, immediate impact with mandatory emissions monitoring.”

The select committee noted that, “emissions have increased for the past two years running.” Although it then recommended that the DfT, “set out in the Government’s forthcoming carbon reduction plan how it intends to deal with this,” it suggested no particular actions.

“What gets measured, gets managed,” said Steve Clarke. “Requiring fleets to record and track their emissions has to be the first step in getting them to implement reduction programmes. Thousands of members’ fleets have already seen the sense of this, but many more will require encouragement in the form of regulation.”

Steve Clarke is particularly well positioned to comment upon issues of sustainability and transport. He led Fuel Card Services in pioneering efforts that resulted in the company becoming an official partner of Cool Earth, the leading environmental charity. Five years on, FCS remains the only organisation from the automotive sector to have achieved this. It continues to support Cool Earth’s world-renowned sustainability projects through donating part of its revenue from CO2Count, its leading emissions monitoring service.

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