Independent fuel retailers have welcomed the announcement from Shell that it is planning to sell up to 250 of its company-owned sites to independent dealers. Michael O’Loughlin, managing director of Petrogas UK, which was ranked sixth in the Forecourt Trader Top 50 Indies said: "Everyone is upbeat about it and excited about the opportunity to expand. We have a couple of Shell sites and we will definitely be putting in a bid for some more.

"Shell will benefit from this because they will see bigger volumes and independent retailers will benefit from the opportunity to expand, but the real winners will be the consumers. Independent retailers really understand their customers and know what UK consumers want and will adapt the offer to them."

Nick Lloyd, managing director of another Top 50 Indie Symonds Forecourts, which has two Shell sites, said: "The reasons put forward by Shell make complete sense. They have a clear strategy and they are implementing it, and as a dealer that gives me confidence in them. They have been very open and taken a very professional approach."