Road haulers and bus companies across the West Midlands have warned their businesses will be badly damaged by new EU regulations.

Small firms will be worst affected, a survey of 500 businesses has found.

The study was carried out by MEP Philip Bradbourn (Con West Midlands), a member of the European Parliament's transport committee.

Planned EU legislation includes requiring every driver to take a 45-hour break after a working week.

Current British legislation also ensures that drivers must take regular breaks, but it allows them to spread these out throughout the week, giving them far more flexibility.

The EU also plans to introduce tolls for heavy goods vehicles on every motorway.

And Britain is under pressure to sign up to the European Working Directive for drivers, which limits them to a maximum 56-hour week.

Mr Bradbourn said: "This study shows that road haulage operators in the West Midlands, particularly small business operators, would be adversely affected by much of the proposed legislation coming from Brussels.

"Clearly, this is of great concern to me as many companies would inevitably cease to exist, thus losing jobs in every part of the region.

"Our haulage, distribution and logistics industry is vital to the economic wellbeing of the region and this study proves how disastrous over excessive regulation will be.

"Companies identified a great deal of frustration with the UK Government believing it to be too fond of "gold-plating" legislation and tying business up in crippling red tape."

Firms particularly objected to plans for motorway tolls.

Business leaders argued this would only be acceptable if it was accompanied by a reduction in fuel tax and vehicle tax, or if the tolls were applied to foreign drivers only.

Mr Bradbourn said: "There were clear indications that some smaller companies had closed and that many more would do so if more costly and time consuming regulations were introduced."