It's been claimed plans to impose a toll on motorists in Newcastle City Centre would be "catastrophic" for the local economy.
The business improvement company, NE1, says a new clean air charge proposed for some Tyneside roads risks “major and long-lasting economic damage”.
Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside have been consulting on imposing either a Clean Air Zone in which the highest-polluting vehicles would be charged a daily fee of £12.50 or a £1.70 toll on the three central bridges across the Tyne.
Businesses welcome the environmental benefits but say the council needs time to make improvements to public transport before a toll on cars is imposed.
A spokesperson for the three councils said the proposals were "aimed at making our area cleaner, healthier and a more attractive place to live, work, visit and do business".