More than 500 appeals have already been lodged by fuel retailers over the new Business Rates valuations – with a

warning that there are more to come.

Brian Madderson, RMI Petrol chairman, stated in a letter to the Exchequer Secretary that the cost to the industry and Treasury of these appeals and any Lands Tribunal was likely to be at least £5 million.

The letter, dated June 15, stated: "With the flawed methodology producing extraordinary and unfair assessments, we can be certain that there will be an immediate and sustained number of challenges via the Appeal process. We understand from the VOA that over 500 have already been lodged to date and that is just the beginning."

It continued: "If the revaluation scheme had been properly conducted from the outset or if the proposed revisions had met with universal approval by the professional ratings experts, then heavy reliance on this Appeal procedure would surely not have been required?"

The estimates for appeal costs are based on a "conservative estimate" of £150 per hour for independent, professional advisors and for the internal charges of VOA staff.

RMI Petrol has been offered the opportunity to meet Treasury officials to discuss the ongoing Business Rates issue, and Madderson said he understood VOA representatives would also be present. He added that he hoped the meeting would take place within the next couple of weeks.

He also urged retailers to check with their rating advisor and then lodge any appeal as soon as possible.