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--Brought to you by FleetNewsIssue 2November 2011Insight ?Councils could play greater part in cutting CO2Sales figures ?Fleet registrations back to pre-recession levelsRemarketing ?Rising volumes increase price pressure Electric vehicles ?2012: The year of the electric vehicleNews digest ?The key headlines from the world of fleetCar/van reviews ?New vehicles driven, plus our long-term testsPeople News ?Appointments and job changesSubscribe to Fleet Digest Download Fleet Digest Tell us what you think of Fleet DigestGOGOGOGOGOGOGO

News insightCouncils could play greater role in reducing emissionsBy Gareth RobertsReduced business rates for fleets operating ultra low carbon vehicles is just one way local authorities could be doing more to encourage their wider use, a new report suggests.Councils have a range of planning, parking and traffic management powers they could deploy, but research from the RAC Foundation reveals they are reluctant to do so. Aside from a few examples, including the London Low Emission Zone and the Congestion Charge, the report says that local authorities look to central Government for advice, policy focus and funding. As a result, they are focusing too heavily on plug-in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure rather than taking a technology neutral approach to carbon reduction.BVRLA chief executive John Lewis said: "For some time the BVRLA has been arguing that Government incentives and policy need to focus on encouraging the use of all lower carbon vehicles, whether they are run on biofuel, petrol, diesel, elec­tricity or hybrid systems. Planning on the basis that businesses and people will either use trains, buses or an electric vehicle is not a viable option." Nevertheless, the majority of local authorities who responded to the survey (19 out of 48 respondents) have either introduced plug-in or hybrid technology to their fleet or are in the process of doing this (14 respondents). It is perhaps no coincidence then that the public sector has the lowest average CO2 emissions of any sector at 127g/km, according to Fleet200.The RAC Foundation says this is a positive sign and should be promoted to other organisations, sharing the lessons learned by the early adopters. However, those who had considered and rejected the idea did so mainly due to high initial costs.Interestingly, 12 local authorities are introducing procurement procedures requiring external contractors to use low emission vehicles. Westmin­ster has already implemented this. Among all local authorities, none had considered but rejected this idea outright, and many are drawing up their own procedures, indicating that this will be a popular incentive in the future.Transport Scotland is sponsoring a Low Carbon Vehicle Procure­ment Programme, whereby public sector agencies can purchase low carbon vehicles through one central buying framework that offers a range of discounts.Meanwhile, a number of councils are promoting the use low emission vehicles in car clubs. For example, Middlesbrough Council is leading the Eco Easterside Project that will deliver the UK's first electric-vehicle-only car club. It will be operated in partnership with Commonwheels, using Peugeot electric vehicles.Milton Keynes, as part of the Plugged-in Places programme, is one authority that has taken a lead on parking, having implemented reduced residen­tial, business and public parking charges for low carbon vehicles. Parking is offered free of charge 'Planning for the future on the basis that businesses and people will either use trains, buses or an electric vehicle is not a viable option'John Lewis, BVRLA