The companies that make up Forecourt Trader’s Top 50 Indies now account for 26% of the forecourts in the entire UK market.

Editor Merril Boulton told an audience of leading retailers at the 2017 Top 50 Indies Dinner that between them they added 99 sites during 2016, taking the total to 2,222 sites.

She said 2016 had been an eventful year for the Top 50 Indies with its number one MRH starting the year by being bought by an affiliate of US private equity company Lone Star, and ending it with the purchase of fellow Top 50 Indie Spring Petroleum.

Two other Top 50 Indies, Synergie Holdings and Roadside Group, were bought by MFG, while High Noon Stores was the first business failure in the Top 50 since 2012.

The dinner, at the De Vere Wotton House hotel near Dorking, Surrey, was attended by executives from the Top 50 Indies and its 14 sponsoring companies, and marked the publication of the 2017 listing.

The after dinner speaker at the event was John Pienaar, deputy political editor for BBC News and presenter of Pienaar’s Politics on BBC Radio 5 Live.

He gave guests an insight into the current state of UK politics and its leading lights at Westminster, including prime minister Theresa May, who he interviewed during her recent visit to the new US president Donald Trump.