Businesses should â€œurgentlyâ€ switch to low emission vehicles with the threat of higher pollution and congestion charges for diesel cars looming, according to business car scheme provider Fleet Evolution.
The Midlands-based firm, which describes itself as one of the UKâ€™s leading provider of salary sacrifice car schemes for employees, claims that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) could soon face â€œhefty penalties by allowing staff to drive vehicles that contribute to air pollution in major UK citiesâ€.
The comments came this week as Islington council began charging Â£96 a year for diesel drivers to purchase parking permits in the London borough (see AirQualityNews.com story).
Meanwhile, there have been repeated calls from politicians for policies to encourage motorists to move away from diesel, such as scrappage schemes, as the government formulates a new UK air quality plan before the end of the year to meet nitrogen dioxide limits.
And, according to Fleet Evolution, drivers of business cars could be a â€œkey part of the solutionâ€ to air pollution, as it said salary sacrifice car schemes â€œrepresent a great opportunity to move out of their gas-guzzling older cars and into new, more efficient vehiclesâ€.
A salary sacrifice car scheme is seen as a way for organisations to provide employees with a brand new, fully insured and maintained car at lower tax costs for both business and staff than possible in the retail market. This is because a portion of a staff-member’s salary goes towards payment of the car before tax and National Insurance.
In addition, Fleet Evolution firm claims that it has managed to lower the carbon dioxide emissions of its customers fleets by 42% this year.
Andrew Leech, managing director of Fleet Evolution, said: â€œIncreasing the number of lower emission vehicles on the road is essential to decreasing air pollution levels.
“Diesel cars are a prime offender in nitrogen oxide pollution and could leave SMEs who allow their staff to drive diesel vehicles for work purposes subject to increased taxes and higher congestion charges.
â€œSwitching to a lower emission vehicle such as the Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid, or even a fully-electric vehicle can offer significant financial and environmental benefits.â€