Three-quarters (75%) of SMEs have indicated they are in favour of clean air zones (CAZs) to help address air pollution in UK towns and cities.
More than 40 towns and cities in the UK are at, or exceeding, air pollution limits set by the World Health Organisation and a number will introduce CAZs as a result.
London will launch its ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in April 2019 and there are five other cities – Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham and Southampton – which will have to introduce CAZs by 2020.
The Government has also identified a further 23 local authorities in its air quality plan where CAZs could be introduced to drive down emissions.
The latest quarterly Close Brothers Asset Finance Business Barometer shows that firms across all sectors – regardless of size and location - are responsive to the idea of CAZs.
Businesses in North East England and London are the most positive (85% answered ‘yes’ to the question ‘are you in favour of clean air zones?’), while those in the North West and South East are least in favour (both at 67%).
Those with smaller turnovers are not put off by the prospect of clear air zones, despite many of them potentially being located in these areas.
£250k - £500k
£501k - £1m
£1.1m - £5m
£5.1m - £10m
However, when it comes to the issue of paying to enter clean air zones there are greater variations.
Six in every 10 business owners say they are prepared to pay to enter a clean air zone if the vehicle fails to meet the required environmental standards, with London-based businesses the most likely to pay (72%).
However, just under half (49%) of Welsh firms are prepared to pay and only 46% of businesses with a turnover of less than £250,000 are in favour.