Van Excellence Code has been launched aimed at establishing a voluntary set of standards for van fleets.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA)’s code will complement the Department for Transport's Van Best Practice Programme, which helps LCV fleets to save money by improving the operational, environmental and safety performance of their vans.
It is hoped that if van operators follow this code they will be spared any swingeing legislation, such the introduction of tachographs for vans under 3.5 tonnes that is being mooted at present.
Some of Britain’s largest van fleets have already put their weight behind the code, including BT Fleet, DHL and Royal Mail, while manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Nissan have agreed to join in.
Gary Whittam, a former CV chief at Ford, has been called in as an adviser. He said: “At present the van industry doesn’t have a voice but there is a big issue with the image of the sector. We need to get our act together and only a body such as the FTA can do this.”
The code is designed to provide mandatory and audited parameters for all aspects of van fleet operation, including driver behaviour, vehicle safety, maintenance and risk assessment methods.
“The purpose of the Code is to demonstrate achievement of high standards of van operation beyond that currently required by law,” said the FTA.
“Accreditation against the Code’s standards will demonstrate a meaningful commitment to safe, efficient and sustainable operations.”
The intention is also to present the code to Government as an alternative for the formal legislation.
At present there are 3.2 million vans on the UK’s roads, of which 1.2 million are driven by members of the FTA. The group now wants to get in touch with operators outside its membership, to encourage them to sign up for the code. Those doing so do not have to be FTA members.
Richard White, the FTA’s van project leader, said: “As an industry we have the knowledge, the will and the belief in self-regulation that is needed to make the Van Excellence Code work.”
For further information on Van Excellence, click here.
Download the FTA documents:
The Van Excellence Code
Download the DfT's van best practice documents:
Van Best Practice - Driver Essentials
Van Best Practice - Efficient Vans
Van Best Practice - Fuel Management
Van Best Practice - Safe Vans
See more in the Vans Section