A Spilsby businessman who delivers Santa’s sleigh and reindeer to events across the country on the run-up to Christmas is backing a petition calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to protect the drivers of diesel vehicles.
Martin Lacey runs two Land Rover Discovery vehicles and two diesel vans to transport his herd of 25 reindeer, relying on bookings over just six weeks for his annual income.
But he says he is outraged by moves to penalise the drivers of diesel vehicles with a toxicity charge, having invested in his fleet when the previous Labour Government called on drivers to buy them because they were more ‘environmentally friendly’.
Mr Lacey said: “I can’t afford to buy a new fleet of vehicles – it would be a big chunk of money to get back in six weeks. We were told in 1986 diesel was more environmentally friendly and now in some parts of the country drivers could be penalised. It hasn’t started here yet but my worry is by Christmas we will have a problem.”
Drivers of older diesel cars in London have been told they will have to pay a £10 ‘toxicity charge’ to drive in central London from October.
The ‘T-charge’ will apply to drivers whose vehicles do not meet Euro 4 emission standards - typically petrol and diesel cars registered before 2006.
Air pollution is linked to 9,000 early deaths a year in London, which has prompted the European Commission to issue a ‘final warning’ to the Government for repeated breaches of legal limits and the move to charge diesel car drivers extra for parking and travelling in city centres.
The petition, which already has nearly 12,000 signatures, states ‘people with diesel cars should not be discriminated against, charged more for parking or forced to pay additional costs to use their vehicles’.
Spilsby Fen county councillor Victoria Ayling also drives a diesel car and is backing the petition. She said: “People are worried that these charges will be brought in other parts of the country. I travel all over the county through my work, and to Surrey and London so I will be affected. The problem for people in Lincolnshire is public transport isn’t great. I’d encourage everyone with a diesel to sign the petition.”
To add your name visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/182686