Ahead of the anticipated Government’s Air Quality Plan announcement, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has said that national-level fiscal measures should be announced to enable small business and vehicle owners to meet the costs of operating in new Clean Air Zones (CAZs).

According to the FTA, a national scrappage scheme would support efforts to achieve air quality improvements while preventing an unsustainable burden falling on small businesses that fail to comply with CAZs, especially small and medium-sized operators and those utilising vans or specialist HGVs.

FTA research suggests that the additional cost of compliance could be in excess of 150% of annual turnover for some SMEs.

The FTA’s head of national and regional policy, Christopher Snelling, commented: “There is no question that we all have to continue to improve air quality – but it should be recognised that our air is getting cleaner all the time. The Government should be pursuing measures that will provide the most health benefit for the least economic disruption. The proposed CAZs pose a serious risk to the viability of many small businesses based in these zones, and a real risk to jobs and local prosperity.

 “Air quality is a national problem and there should be national measures to help solve it. Tax breaks or a scrappage scheme funded by the Government could help business and diesel car drivers cope with the changes and reduce the need for local restrictions.”