White van men urged to go green

Scheme aims to cut fuel usage and improve safety

The UK’s 200,000 van drivers are to be encouraged by the government to improve their driving skills through a new £1.3m scheme.

Aimed at reducing vehicle and fuel costs for businesses and helping the environment, the Safe and Fuel Efficient Drivers (SaFED) intiative will initially fund 200 instructors to train 3,500 van drivers across the UK.

It is hoped the project will encourage “white van men” – the stereotype term for aggressive drivers – to cut back on fuel consumption through improved driving techniques.

Ministers claim a typical driver doing 20,000 miles a year taking the one-day training course will makes savings of up to £500 in diesal costs, slash carbon emissions and pay less insurance premiums.

It is also hoped the scheme – free to drivers in small or medium sized enterprises using their own van – will lead to fewer road accidents and give vehicles a higher resale vehicle.

Launching SaFED at an event in Nuneaton, transport secretary Alistair Darling said: “The white van fleet keeps the British economy moving – playing a vital role in its success. “Van drivers can play their part in making Britain a greener place. At the same time making a tidy saving.

“The scheme…makes business sense. As our pilot shows greener, cheaper, safer driving is possible while still getting the product there on time.”

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