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KENT CONSIDERS REGISTERING VEHICLES ABROAD TO CUT ROAD COSTS

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Kent CC is considering 'flagging out' its transport fleet to counter steep rises in the price of diesel fuel and r...
Kent CC is considering 'flagging out' its transport fleet to counter steep rises in the price of diesel fuel and road tax.

Senior members say registering Kent's fleet of 500 vehicles in France or Belgium could save up to£600,000 a year.

The Conservative council is also examining whether it can bring tankers of fuel over from Europe to use for its fleet.

Kent estimates the recent rise in the price of diesel will push its fuel bill up by£100,000. It already spends£40 million a year on transport related costs.

Deputy leader Keith Ferrin said: 'We have a large fleet and we must ensure we get the best value for money from the council tax payer. If registering the vehicles abroad achieves that, we would be duty bound to go down that road. For an authority like Kent it is the equivalent of hopping over to Calais to stock up on duty free.'

Kent's fleet ranges form large lorries to mobile libraries, transit vans and mini-buses. One option is for the fleet to be registered at Hardelot in France, where the council has a youth centre, or Brussels, where it has an office.

If the council goes ahead, all its vehicles would have to have foreign number plates and display the country of origin sticker.

Mr Ferrin said Kent would also consider buying new vehicles abroad. 'There is no reason why we should not buy from abroad. We are quite happy to look at it.'

Councillors will consider the move at a meeting on Friday.

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