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01 February 2007

Business slams Livingstone’s pollution proposals

Reference number: PR 2007 09

FSB News Release

PR/2007/09

Issue date:  Thursday 1 February 2007

Business slams Livingstone’s pollution proposals

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called on the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, to re-think his plans for a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in the capital.  The plans will hit hauliers and business vehicles across the UK because over 50% travel through London at least once a year.

The LEZ would impose daily charges of between £100 and £200 on heavy goods vehicles that emit certain levels of pollution after 2008. The penalties for failing to pay will be as high as £1,000. The consultation from Transport for London (TfL) closes on Friday February 2.

The FSB does not believe that TfL has consulted sufficiently with businesses.  There are approximately 103,000 Operator Licence holders in the UK but TfL has only heard from around 3,000 buisinesses.  This leaves the vast majority of haulage firms unaware of this proposed scheme.

The proposals are complicated by having several start times for different types of vehicle.  The first set of vehicles will be hit from January 2008 and the FSB feels that a one year lead-in time is too fast for all firms to be able to make the necessary changes to their vehicles.

The FSB is the UK’s largest business organisation, with over 200,000 members – over 6,000 of which are based in London.

Steve Collie, FSB National Transport Chairman, said:

“The FSB fully supports the aim of the Mayor to reduce pollution in London.  However, this scheme is too complicated and it is in danger of catching many businesses by surprise.

“The Mayor needs to listen to the employers that will be affected so that his proposal does not put jobs at risk.  He should amend the scheme to one commencement date, which he should put back until July 2008, and make more effort to publicise the LEZ across the UK.

“The FSB would be glad to assist in this publicity campaign to make the LEZ workable, which it most certainly is not at present.”

ENDS