THE rise in Transport for London's Congestion Charge is "a tax rise for businesses" according to the Freight Transport Association.

The group, whose members operate more than 200,000 lorries, has long appealed to TfL to reconsider the charge on freight operators who have to use city road and Congestion Charge zones.

TfL announced today (Jan 7) that the standard daily charge would increase from £10 to £11.50 - an 15 per cent rise for motorists but for the freight industry, who mainly use a 'fleet scheme', the increase is 17%.

The association is campaigning on behalf of its members to encourage TfL to consider all available options for providing discounts and exemptions to the scheme for the freight industry.

Natalie Chapman, FTA head of policy London and South East, said: "Whilst many congestion charge users face a potential 15 per cent increase in the daily charge this summer, most transport companies are registered on the fleet scheme so will be in line for an over-inflationary 17 per cent hike if the proposed changes go ahead.

"FTA realises that the Congestion Charge is to deter non-essential or discretionary journeys, but we consider this as a tax on businesses which have little alternative but to use trucks and vans during the day."

Ms Chapman added: "Whilst FTA is not opposed to the principle of the Congestion Charge, London’s businesses rely on freight to deliver essential goods and services and without the logistics industry, the capital would simply grind to a halt."

She added it is not feasible to deliver goods on public transport and nor are alternative modes practical for the to-the-door deliveries that central London requires.

Will the hike affect your business? Have your say in the comments below.