s we went to press, a safety scheme for road fuel tankers was launched. UKPIA inaugurated a thoroughly revised Safe Loading Pass Scheme (SLPS) on April 30. The scheme aims to ensure that road fuel tankers are safe and meet a number of additional checks and standards. The SLPS was first established in the UK in 1989 and was informally managed by a small number of participating companies.

UKPIA spearheaded a full review and called upon a cross-industry team, comprising representatives of the Tank Storage Association and the Freight Transport Association, to join efforts to develop the scheme. It certainly represents a remarkable example of cross-industry collaboration: it is industry created, owned and managed.

The SLPS is recognised by members of UKPIA and the Tank Storage Association which, together, represent the majority of petroleum terminals in the UK. It is now a requisite for entry into those terminals. UKPIA owns the scheme and Freight Transport Association manages it. It is enforced in England, Scotland and Wales. A website containing all information is also now available www.safeloadingpass.com/.

A recent survey by the Research Institute for Consumer Affairs on disabled access to petrol service stations (’Sound your horn if you’re disabled’ www.rica.org.uk) came up with some fairly damning results. Over 70% of the service stations sampled had no signage indicating facilities for the disabled motorist. In 20% of visits, lack of facilities meant the motorist was unable to buy fuel, and pay-by-card was only available in 20% of visits. In the 70% sample with no signage, the only option for the disabled motorist was to sound the horn, flash the lights and wave the blue badge to get attention.

Any non-technical solution to this concerning issue has usually involved the question of employing additional staff acting as a real barrier to doing the right thing. However, today’s technology does appear to provide disabled access to practical vehicle refuelling, and payment.

UKPIA will be doing its bit to encourage all involved in the industry to see what can be done to provide a usable service for the disabled motorist and hopefully see a different result in the next survey!