Feb 24, 2017  •  10 min read

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) – the trade body for the vehicle rental and leasing sector – is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, and is already planning for what looks set to be a busy year.

The organisation celebrated another record year of growth in 2016, and now boasts 900 member organisations, who are collectively responsible for a staggering total of 4.7 million cars, vans and trucks on Britain’s roads.

At the recent BVRLA Industry Conference, members discussed the many

challenges facing the rental and leasing sector in the months to come – particularly changes to company car tax and salary sacrifice schemes that came out of the 2016 Autumn statement, the upcoming VED changes in April, and the impact of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) for CO2 emissions that will be introduced in September 2017.

Members also talked about the ongoing revolution in autonomous cars and alternative fuels – including hybrid, electric and fuel cell-powered vehicles

One major topic was the impact and uncertainty of Brexit, and economist David Muir explained the range of economic forecasts for leaving the EU, and some of the challenges and opportunities that Brexit presents.

The BVRLA’s Director of Policy and Membership, Jay Parmar talked about ‘Fair treatment of the company car’ – examining why there has been a 21% fall in company car drivers at the same time as rises in taxation, and why the UK government needs to place more investment in the sector.

The BVRLA has analysed the upcoming changes to salary sacrifice schemes that were announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement and the draft 2017 Finance Bill, and produced a fact sheet for members . You can download it from bvrla.co.uk after signing into the site.

In his keynote speech, BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney described how the BVRLA’s audit process had evolved in 2015, and was successfully implemented in 2016, and how it is now delivering even more value to BVRLA members over their non-BVRLA competitors.

He also talked about the lobbying work the BVRLA has done with UK government and local authorities – particularly the implementation of the Dartford Crossing ‘Dart Charge’, the growth in alternative fuel vehicles and autonomous technology and infrastructure, as well as the BVRLA’s comprehensive research into the growing ‘grey fleet’ sector.

Looking ahead to 2017, Keaney highlighted how air quality is likely to be a key issue, with London leading the charge with its congestion zone policies. He suggested that a national framework needs to be developed for congestion zones, rather than relying on local policies that could leave a vehicle able to drive into one city, but not others.

Finally, he highlighted how the BVRLA will be lobbying hard for its members to ensure that any Brexit negotiations take into account the rental and leasing sector.

To watch all the talks from the BVRLA Industry Conference speeches, head to bvrla.co.uk/videos