Myth: Hundreds of small rural petrol stations will be forced to close due to a new European law (the Vapour Recovery Directive) aimed at reducing air pollution. This is because stage one of this directive would involve digging up each station’s forecourt on order to reach the underground petrol tanks at an estimated cost of 6,000 pounds sterling.
Response: This is wrong. The Vapour Resources Directive, which has not yet been agreed by the Council of Ministers, was submitted by the European Commission on 30.7.1993, and is intended to control emissions resulting from the storage of petrol and its distribution from terminals to service stations. If adopted, the Directive would enter into force on 31.12.1994.
Small rural petrol stations would have nine years from the proposed date of entry (ie. 1.1.1994) to comply with its terms. The proposal does not contain any obligations to dig up forecourts – indeed the necessary installation is reported by one manufacturer to cost about 210 pounds sterling per tank (1993 prices).