Small business owners could face steep fines and increased costs if Transport For London does not step up efforts to publicise London's new Low Emission Zone (LEZ), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned.
The LEZ comes into force on February 4 and covers most of the area within the M25. Under the scheme, owners of older diesel lorries, trucks and buses that emit certain levels of pollution will be forced to pay £100-£200 each time they enter the zone. The regulations will be extended to vans, minibuses and motor caravans in 2010.
"Any increased costs will be passed down the supply chain and are likely to affect retailers in the form of higher prices," a spokesman for the FSB warned. Meanwhile, retailers with older diesel vans will be directly affected when the scheme is extended in 2010, he added.
TfL has recently agreed to a 28 day grace period from fines when the LEZ comes into force next month. Owners of non-compliant vehicles entering the LEZ will be sent a warning letter rather than being charged.