A business owner has welcomed the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) but says it is the “minimum” companies should do to clean-up the environment.

Bruce Bratley set up First Mile 15 years ago and now provides recycling services for other businesses with 250 employees.

The business owner, who prides himself on being environmentally friendly, has welcomed the ULEZ which is set to come into force in Central London on April 19.

This means drivers will be made to pay a £12.50 charge or buy a vehicle which meets certain emissions standards.

Mr Bratley said: “Companies need to change their business model to become more environmentally friendly.

“If a small business wants to run in the centre of London they should comply with the ULEZ.

“Toxic air is polluting the streets and costs thousands of premature deaths every year.

“I do have sympathy with individuals driving in London but for businesses if they want to take advantage of the central London economy the need to upgrade their vehicles.”

The company, which now has 70 vehicles, has been upgrading its vans for the last three years to meet ULEZ emissions standards – it also has a small cargo bike and three electric vehicles.

But Mr Bratley said upgrading vehicles to meet ULEZ emissions standards should the “minimum” businesses do to become more environmentally friendly.

He said: “Companies can do a lot more than the ULEZ.

“Air quality is a key part of it making the environment better and we all need to work together towards managing it and reducing it.”

Mr Bratley the Islington based business has taken up a number of other measures in a bid to become more environmentally friendly.

These include putting less vehicles on the road by making each van do more deliveries at once and getting their vehicles to make quicker and more efficient journeys to reduce pollution.

He added: “I think businesses are all becoming more switched on and have invested in more environmental projects.

“I think consumers are putting more pressure on corporations to change their bad habits and they have in turn started to change what they are doing.”