The government is considering plans to cut off uninsured drivers’ petrol supply by linking information using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) at forecourts.

The plans originate from a presentation given by accountancy firm Ernst & Young to officials at Number 10 and could see ANPR cameras and data held by the DVLA used to control petrol pumps.

Under the plans, ANPR cameras would be used to cross-reference number plates against the DVLA database, which would show whether a vehicle does not have insurance or tax. This information would then be fed through to the fuel pumps, which would restrict a motorist’s fuel where necessary.

Brian Madderson, chairman of RMI Petrol, has described the idea as a “complete red herring”. He said: “Why can’t Downing Street and its policy advisors lift the phone and consult with industry before letting these hot air balloons fly? We could have told them that very few independents are operating ANPR systems because there’s no credible national database available to them.”