Britain had nearly 900 fewer filling stations in 2013 than it did in 2008, a 10 per cent decline that has cost almost 6000 jobs and left some rural areas at risk of becoming ‘fuel deserts’.
What’s more, around a third of the 886 filling stations shut down were located in remote rural areas, reports the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which could leave some countryside users dependent on their car to get around at risk of isolation.
Chairman Brian Madderson told the Telegraph that “the closure of each and every petrol forecourt… (is) the loss of a local convenience not just for those seeking to purchase fuel but other every day essentials that so many sites now offer their customers.”
He explained that the 332 rural filling stations that closed down in the six year period were creating “fuel deserts in those communities which rely on the services the most”.
Supermarkets are partly at fault, said Madderson: customers top up with their weekly shop rather than use filling stations closer to home.
Groups particularly at risk of isolation from the closure of filling stations include the elderly, the PRA added, who use petrol stations for both fuel and food.
Today, Britain has around 8000 filling stations; in 1970, it had around 37,500.