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MP calls for fairer competition and planning for independent forecourts

14 February, 2014

Brian Madderson

The PRA has welcomed an initiative by Conservative MP and fuel tax campaigner Robert Halfon to draw attention to the ongoing loss of independent petrol stations and the pressures they are under from unfair competition and legislation.

He has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons calling on the Government to take action to halt the loss of independent petrol stations.

It reads: “This House notes that there are 5,000 independent petrol filling stations in the UK; recognises the valuable contribution that they make to the economy and the national infrastructure; further notes that independent filling stations are closing at a rate of four per week with the loss of 1,500 jobs per year; believes that this is a real loss for those in rural communities who rely on them, as well as Government due to lost revenue; and therefore urges the Government to implement a plan to ensure fair competition, fair taxation, and fair planning in this industry to secure a sustainable future for the UK's independent petrol filling stations.”

Although EDMs are rarely debated in the House of Commons they are a way for MPs to highlight an issue.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson said the tabling of the EDM came after he had a meeting with the MP.

He said: “He is very mindful of the plight of independent petrol retailers and that they are closing at the rate of 150-200 year – that is three or four businesses closing their doors every week – and this is particularly hitting rural economies where new job are least likely to be found.

“He feels more should be done in a coordinated way by the government and the officials to provide a more level playing field.”

He is very mindful that, in the three months to the beginning of November, there have been 22 new applications by developers and/or supermarkets to open new forecourts or retro-fit them, and each one that gets permission will suck out of the area six independent forecourt businesses.”