TOUGH new emissions rules in London ahead of next year’s Olympics have forced a Doncaster company to invest £1m in 15 new trucks.
The London Emission Zone comes into force on January 3 and lorries that fail to meet pollution standards must pay £200 a day.
McGregor’s Logistics of Doncaster runs 40 trailers to London every day and bosses fear the scheme will prove so popular it will be extended to all major cities.
Graham Hamilton, sales director, said one option was to have catalytic converters fitted, at a cost of £5,000 each.
But the firm opted to invest nearly £1m in new vehicles.
He said: “I’m sure once Boris Johnson finishes waving his Olympic flag next year this will be rolled out across the country. We opted to invest, but it comes at a time when we’re still in a recession of sorts and we don’t want to spend money - but we do want to carry on working.
“I think this will finish off a lot of small family businesses.”
McGregors, of Woodfield Business Centre, Carr Hill, employs 35 people and has a fleet of 60 vehicles and trailers. Turnover is £5.4m.
Specialising in fruit and vegetables, it regularly delivers turf to Wembley, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and Croke Park in Dublin and the New London Olympic Stadium.
It has just signed a deal with Lloyds TSB for a £500,000 factoring facility which sees it paid by the bank when invoices are issued to customers. This instant payment is supposed to free up funds by eliminating the average 45-day wait for payment. The bank will also chase debtors.
Mr Hamilton said the recession had stretched payment terms and the deal would release cash for rising fuel costs, maintenance and marketing.
He added: “The funding from Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance has provided much-needed liquidity to ensure we are in a robust position to expand, whilst still having sufficient day-to-day capital to service our feet regularly and pay overheads.”
Peter Bould, regional manager at Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance, said: “From a small family business with one vehicle delivering fruit and vegetables locally, McGregors has developed in to an international company with a predicted turnover of £10m over the next year.
All affected vehicles need to be registered with Transport for London.