£1.2m to turn white van man green

Government has announced it will be spending an extra £1.2m on its Safe and Fuel Efficient Drivers (SAFED) scheme, targeting van drivers.

Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly, announced the funding on Wednesday, which will be used to train van drivers in greener, safer driving techniques.

SAFED teaches driving techniques that save fuel, with the knock on effect of cutting costs and carbon emissions.

Since its launch in 2006 the Department for Transport has invested nearly £2.2million in the training scheme.

The training has been popular as fleet managers can see the dual benefitsof saving money and improving their company’s green credentials and so far almost 7,800 drivers have taken part in the programme.

Drivers who completed the training found they achieved an average 16% improvement in miles per gallon, giving a potential annual fuel saving of £3.3million and CO2 emissions reduction of 9,350 tonnes, equivalent to an average of £425 for each van driver and a reduction for CO2 emissions of around 1.2 tonnes.

Ruth Kelly said: “White van man is turning green. By learning safe, fuel efficient driving techniques, van drivers are playing a vital role in cutting CO2 emissions. They’re helping tackle climate change, saving money and improving safety without impacting on customer delivery times

“I congratulate all the drivers who’ve done the training so far and urge others to do the same – it makes business and environmental sense.”

The new money will part fund training for new instructors, new assessors and up to 6,500 drivers over the next three years.

SAFED is a one-day training course involving a mix of classroom and on-the-road tuition. It teaches drivers how techniques such as better use of gears and brakes, avoiding over-revving and unnecessary gear changes, keeping correct braking distances to avoid braking hard)and better road awareness.

Fleet managers and van drivers interested in finding out how SAFED for Vans could benefit their business should visit www.safed.org.uk.

Sam Bond

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