A missive expressing deep and growing concern about the failure by the Government to properly talk with the fuel retailing industry has been sent to the Prime Minister David Cameron by RMI Petrol chairman Brian Madderson.

In it Madderson states that had there been proper consultation in the weeks prior to the threatened industrial action by Unite tanker drivers, the Government would have been aware of the number of site closures since the time of the fuel blockades in September 2000 and the resultant significantly reduced energy resilience.

He said the increased level of fuel duty had also been another contributing factor affecting energy resilience, the increase in costs forcing retailers to keep stocks to minimum levels in order to better control their cash flow.

“Had we been approached in due time, measures to ensure maximum forecourt stocks could have been enacted,” stressed Madderson. He said the Government could also have avoided the panic-buying fiasco following its advice to motorists to “fill up canisters and jerry cans too”.

He also complained about the Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening’s statement to media that petrol retailers were not passing on the full extent of recent reductions to wholesale prices to motorists at the pumps.

Another area of complaint involved media reports that the Government’s Policy Unit suggested the number plate recognition system on forecourts could be used to apprehend uninsured vehicles when there are few, if any, independent forecourts with the ANPR technology installed and operational.

“We firmly believe that lack of proper and early engagement with the independent fuel retailing industry results in your Ministers making pronouncements to the media which are misleading, misrepresentative, unhelpful and factually incorrect,” stated Madderson.

“This is damaging the Government’s credibility not only with industrial leaders and their employees but also with the general public.

“May we please have your assurance that Ministers and their officials will be encouraged to fully engage with our industry in the future?”