I noticed the other day that Transport Minister Baroness Kramer announced that more than 1000 local authority vehicles, from buses to fire engines, will soon be cleaner and greener.
That’s a good thing of course. Apparently 17 local authorities have been awarded grants for a wide variety of cutting-edge, pollution-reducing technologies that will now be fitted to 1163 vehicles.
In addition, the Department for Transport also announced the allocation of an additional £50,000 of funding to help local authorities monitor the results of their clean technology projects.
Indeed, the Clean Vehicle Technology Fund adds up to £5m. But is that what we need to be doing, chucking more money at local authorities? They seem to be among the worst spenders of money in the country.
That’s a side issue, because what bothers me more than anything is that the buses, vans, police cars and ambulances used by our public services seem to be, by and large, built abroad. At the very least anything bought with tax payer’s money ought to be built here.
Several years ago a friend who used to rebuild cars for a living, so knew what was involved in making something, could not understand how this country didn’t make its own van. I know that Vauxhall does, but I am idealistically referring to a British-owned company.
I would not want to create another state-owned BL scenario because we know how that ended. A vehicle has to be good in its own right and commercially successful rather than state subsidised.
Maybe what I am suggesting is that the last thing I want to read about is yet another British car company making half-a-dozen bespoke pseudo-supercars that cost a fortune and won’t be around for the long haul.
So this is my call for our engineers and entrepreneurs to build a better van. Believe me if you do, they will come and buy it. Then the local authorities will be obliged to at least consider it.
So are you bothered about where the next British van is coming from?