The Regeneration Forum hosted by the PRA last month, was extremely illuminating and not just in terms of the information aired, particularly the presentation about duty deferment (of which more later).

But it was also notable in showing what an uphill struggle organisations like the PRA have in getting government officials and their like firstly to register their existence, secondly to get a meeting, and finally to make them understand the real issues facing their particular sector.

Great though it was to have someone as influential as the Minister for Energy and Business, Michael Fallon, as the keynote speaker, it was somewhat disappointing in the open Q&A session, when he was shown to be clearly unfamiliar with many of the key concerns facing fuel retailers.

He can’t know everything, of course, but how can anything change when the people able to bring influence are not even aware of the issues. Problems like planning and duty tax issues may have been beyond his brief, but at least he did agree there might be merit in the creation of some type of committee that brings all the various and relevant government departments together to consider the forecourt sector as one. It would certainly make life easier for Brian Madderson and co.