Palma.—The Balearic Business Federation (CAEB) joined regional car hire associations Baleval, Aevab, Feneval and the Balearic Transport Federation (FEBT) yesterday in confronting the Balearic government's plans to impose a new environmental tax on the rent a car industry at the start of the tourist season .

Car hire businesses are so opposed to the new tax, representatives explained, because they believe that it will give them less competitivity in comparison with the rest of the country. The same sources also said that not only has the tax not been agreed with the car hire industry in the Balearics but that Central Government's Minister for Industry, Energy and Tourism José Manuel Soria had reportedly said at the last World Travel Market in London that it is not being imposed at the instigation of Central Government.

The regional car hire sector believes that not only will the tax prejudice business at a time of economic crisis but will also mean that firms will be less competitive than their counterparts on the mainland. “This isn't going to help economic recovery at all,” said a spokesman.

Meanwhile, Balearic Finance Minister José Ignasi Aguiló confirmed yesterday that the government is planning to reap 15 million euros from the new environmental tax, saying at the same time that firms who don't correctly declare the number of cars they have in their fleet will be fined 600 euros.

The regional government intends to claim between 3.5 and 9 euros per day according to the level of CO2 emissions of the hired vehicle, and a variable amount depending on the mileage done. Car hire firms say that the cost to the client will be an increase of around 18%.