Hauliers fear bank loan denial  By Andy Stewart Photography Various  A recent survey has found almost four in 10 UK hauliers plan to seek funding for business growth during the next 12 months – but of that number, more than half are concerned their request for bank lending will be declined.  The quarterly Close Brothers survey, which canvasses the opinion of SME owners from a variety of sectors across the UK, also revealed many UK business owners are unsure as to how to fund plans for growth.  Over a third of transport bosses admitted their knowledge of funding sources other than the conventional could be better, while a further 15 per cent said they were completely unaware of any alternatives to bank lending.  “It is encouraging to see so many transport firms have plans to invest in their business,” said Close Brothers’ transport division MD, John Fawcett. “But to make these plans a reality, firms need to have the necessary working capital required for growth.  “For many, accessing finance can seem like a daunting task if they perceive banks aren’t willing to lend and applications are likely to be turned down. However, our findings would seem to suggest firms do not have all the information when it comes to financial planning, and many are failing to find appropriate alternatives to bank lending.”  The survey also highlighted access to cash is still a major challenge for many operators, with one in 10 claiming it is crippling their business.

Annual tests for commercial vehicles are being tightened up to ensure trucks have an exhaust filter if one had originally been fitted as standard, according to a new statement from the government.

Roads minister Robert Goodwill said garages and testing stations will be required check for a diesel particulate filter (DPF) in the inspection of the exhaust system as part of a heavy vehicle’s annual test from February 2014. The vehicle will fail the test if the filter had been fitted as standard, but is found to be no longer present.

The government stressed it is an offence to drive a vehicle that has had its DPF removed, as it will no longer meet the emissions standards the truck achieved when it was approved for sale in the UK.

“I am very concerned vehicles are being modified in a way that is clearly detrimental to people’s health and undoes the hard work manufacturers have taken to improve emissions standards,” Goodwill said.

“We had to intervene to clarify the position on particulate filter removal given the unacceptable negative impact on air quality.”