Seventy fuel tankers that do not meet safety standards are finally going to be banned from British roads and forecourts more than two years after the problem was first reported, transport minister Andrew Jones has admitted.
And he also revealed that other tankers that have been certified in the UK have also been found to contain defects, and manufacturers are now working to fix them.
The safety problem was first revealed in a written statement to Parliament in October 2013, when transport minister Robert Goodwill reported that 230 fuel tankers, about 12% of the entire British tanker fleet, had been incorrectly certified, and said: “The department has an ongoing dialogue with industry to discuss proposals to replace or modify the tankers according to a schedule that ensures security of fuel supply while maintaining safety.”
Last December transport minister Claire Perry reported that 100 of the tankers had been replaced but this still left 130 non-compliant tankers in service.
Jones has now told MPs that since the previous statement, around 60 new replacement tankers have entered into service, reducing the number that do not meet safety standards to about 70 tankers.
He added that after research costing £500,000 the Department of Transport had decided that it would not allow the remaining 70 tankers to be used after the end of 2015.
He said: “In addition, the research, in going beyond the scope of the normal inspections required by legislation, found a fuel tanker properly certified in the UK to contain defects of a lesser significance than those in the tankers found not to be in full compliance with regulations.
“A full-scale test of the tanker undertaken during the research found that the safety of the tanker was not compromised by these defects, which due to the research are being addressed by the manufacturer.”