SMEs strongly in favour of clean air zones despite potential cost impact

Infographic to show business barometer results around clean air zones

 

 

  • Three quarters of SMEs are in favour of clean air zones 
  • 61% would be prepared to pay to enter a clean air zone 
  • North East England and London businesses most positive

With more than 40 towns and cities in the UK at or exceeding air pollution limits set by the World Health Organisation, 75% of SMEs in the UK have indicated that they are in favour of clean air zones (CAZ) to help resolve the problem.  

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. 

“A Clean Air Zone is an area in which a local authority has brought measures into place to improve the air quality,” explained Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance. “Initially, it was thought that the Clean Air Zones would apply only to buses, taxis and HGVs. However, this was widened to include non-compliant private vehicles.”

Regions

Firms in the North East and London were particularly positive about the idea of CAZs, with 85% of companies answering ‘yes’ to the question ‘are you in favour of clean air zones?’. 

Bottom of the regional list was the North West and South East, both at 67%.

Q: Are you in favour of clean air zones?

 

Yes

No

North East England

85%

15%

Greater London

85%

15%

Republic of Ireland

80%

20%

Yorkshire/Humberside

75%

25%

Northern Ireland

75%

25%

South West England

73%

27%

Wales

73%

27%

West Midlands

73%

27%

East Midlands

73%

28%

Scotland

71%

29%

East Anglia

71%

30%

South East England

67%

33%

North West England

67%

33%

Industries 

The Transport & Haulage sector mirrored the UK results, at 75%; Construction was less responsive, with 68% in favour. 

“It’s encouraging to see hauliers so positive,” said Neil. “They are often an easy target for critics of vehicle emissions, but like everyone else they have a stake in ensuring air quality improves.” 

 

Yes

No

Print

83%

18%

Manufacturing

76%

24%

Transport & Haulage

75%

26%

Engineering

73%

27%

Construction

66%

34%

Turnover 

Businesses with smaller turnovers were not put off by the prospect of clear air zones, despite many of them potentially being located in these areas. 

 

Yes

No

<£250k

76%

24%

£250k - £500k

68%

32%

£501k - £1m

77%

23%

£1.1m - £5m

70%

30%

£5.1m - £10m

81%

19%

>£10m

81%

19%

Other findings 

Six in every 10 business owners would be prepared to pay to enter a clean air zone if the vehicle fails to meet the required environmental standards. 

Regionally, London-based businesses – at 72% saying ‘yes’ – were the most likely to pay, while Welsh firms at 49% were least likely. 

At only 46%, businesses turning over less than £250k were not prepared to shell out to enter a CAZ. 

Sector-wise, Transport & Haulage, at 61%, matched the national average.

 

Methodology

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a GMI survey conducted in April 2018. The survey canvassed the opinion of nearly 1,000 SME owners across the UK and RoI and across several industries on a range of issues affecting their businesses.

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