Written evidence submitted by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) (AAS0042)
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) represents one of the UK’s largest groups of vehicle owners. Our membership is responsible for a combined fleet of four million cars, vans and trucks – one-in-ten of all vehicles on UK roads. They spend more than £30 billion upgrading their fleets each year and are responsible for buying around 50% of new vehicles sold annually in the UK, including 83% of vehicles manufactured in the UK for sale in the UK. The vehicle rental and leasing industry supports over 465,000 jobs, adds £7.6 billion in tax revenues and contributes £49 billion to the UK economy each year.
Recovery of the UK aviation sector
Vehicle rental at airports
Vehicle rental is a vital part of the airport transport ecosystem, connecting passengers with their final or next destination. This is even more essential in rural airports where the public transport system is not as advanced.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic there has been explicit support for the airports sector but unfortunately not for the vehicle rental operators who rely on airports for their business. Regrettably, BVRLA members operating at airports across the UK experienced a fall in revenues of up to 90%. Our members took operational measures to reduce costs and resources whilst maintaining their long-term capabilities in anticipation of when improved market conditions would return. Thankfully most branches managed to survive during the pandemic, but many viable firms were severely impacted and jobs were threatened as a result of a lack of support or understanding of the sector by central government.
The BVRLA invited the Aviation Minister to meet and discuss these concerns earlier this year but the invitation was not taken up and the Department for Transport continued to omit the rental vehicle sector when discussing the impact of the pandemic and necessary support measures for the aviation industry.
Now travel restrictions are lifting (in particular the rercent rebound in US travel is welcome), business has started to return for the sector, but this recovery is very fragile. If travel restrictions were to return in the near future there is no guarantee the rental sector would be able to weather the storm once again.
Sustainability - Supporting the Government’s aim to achieve net zero
greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
As previously explained, the vehicle rental sector forms part of a complex transport ecosystem at airports. These locations should be viewed as transport hubs for rail, buses, coaches and rental as well as aviation. It is therefore vital that decarbonisation efforts being undertaken consider the whole ecosystem, not just airlines and the physical airport building.
Rental companies seeking to embrace zero emission vehicles require specific attention at airport locations. The cost of installing charging infrastructure is high, especially if that business is expected to cover the whole cost by itself. There are also potential future complications regarding ownership of this infrastructure. If a rental company has paid for the installation of charging infrastructure but then is moved from that location within a few years the infrastructure is not something they can take with them.
Airports must have an open diaglogue with rental companies and be willing to work in collaboration to ensure progress towards zero emission motoring as the onwards transport step for air passengers is fully supported and incorporated into their over arching decarbonisation plans.
About the BVRLA