The PRA has written to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) protesting that it is “wilfully ignoring” a massive opportunity to levy business rates on hand car washes and that it could bring in £200m a year.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson added: “If they do it by the end of March then it can be backdated to 2010, as they have done with through the wall ATMs.”

Madderson said that any move by the VOA would not affect dealers who have replaced automatic car washes with hand wash operations. He explained that they already pay business rates, and also pointed out that that they would have all the necessary interceptors and drainage to meet environmental requirements.

He said the PRA was calling for off forecourt hand car washes to be subject to the same business rating requirements that forecourts face.

He said that when he previously raised the issue with the VOA, it responded that it did not have the time or the resources necessary to carry out the assessments, and he described this as “absolute rubbish”.