The new proposals to make London a ‘low emissions zone’ (LEZ) will harm British businesses, particularly smaller companies, a report says.Under the proposed plan, there will be a daily charge for heavy goods vehicles that emit certain levels of pollution which enter the capital. The costs will be between £100 and £200 a day and are due to come into force in 2008. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) says that Transport for London’s (TfL) plans will damage haulage firms as it calculated that 50 per cent of all UK haulage firms pass through the capital at least once a year.“This scheme is too complicated and it is in danger of catching many businesses by surprise," said Steve Collie, the FSB’s national transport chairman.One of the FSB’s main criticisms of the scheme is that the 2008 start will not give businesses, particularly smaller companies, the time to upgrade its fleet and so avoid the charges.Mr Collie said: "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."However, TfL say that the measures are needed to combat London’s air pollution, which it describes as "amongst the worst in Europe". It also says that harmful pollutants, such as oxides of nitrogen, are particularly harmful to residents and generally caused by road transport.© Adfero Ltd

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