Eight hundred independent forecourt sites will be wiped out by new supermarket forecourts by 2017 unless the government takes action, the Petrol Retailers’ Association has warned.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: "This is an absolute disaster for independents, unless the government does something to curb the expansion of the supermarkets."

The PRA figures are based on a new report that it commissioned from Christie & Co which looked at the planning applications for new petrol filling stations between 2009 and the third quarter of 2012.

It found that an average of 40 supermarket forecourts were being granted permission each year, and Steve Rodell, director and head of retail at Christie & Co said: "If applications continue at the same rate, and there is no reason to believe that will not be the case, there will be another 160 supermarket sites by the end of 2016."

Madderson said Experian Catalist figures show the average supermarket site sells 11.2mlpa compared with 2.3mpla for independents, meaning that each new supermarket site was sucking the equivalent volume of five independents out of the market.

If left unchecked, he warned, the expected growth in supermarket forecourts would kill off 800 independents over the next four years.

The Christie & Co report has been used by the PRA as part of its submission to the OFT calling for an inquiry into the retail fuel market, and it is due to announce whether it will go ahead at end of January.