petrolpumps_276The Countryside Alliance is delighted that petrol prices could become more affordable in 17 of the UK’s most rural communities.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander announced today (15 January) that the European Parliament has approved plans for a fuel tax rebate at filling stations in 17 areas across the Scottish Highlands and Argyll and Bute and in Cumbria, Northumberland, North Yorkshire and Devon.

Garages in these areas will be able to claim back up to 5p per litre in fuel duty, allowing them to drop the price of their fuel. 

Countryside Alliance executive chairman, Barney White-Spunner said: “We are delighted that the Government is listening to the views of rural people and welcome this attempt to make petrol and diesel more affordable in some of the worst affected communities. But we are still concerned that the scheme, whilst very welcome, is set up in such a way that no areas in Wales qualified for the rebate and 31 further rural areas considered by the Government did not meet the criteria.

“Having a car is a necessity rather than a luxury for many people living in the countryside but our research shows that the rural commute is on average 25% more expensive than the urban commute and fuel prices tend to be higher in areas with fewer petrol stations and less competition. Bringing the price of fuel down would bring great relief to drivers in remote areas.”

For further information, contact the Countryside Alliance head of media Charlotte Cooper on 07500 834163 or [email protected]

Notes for journalists
• The Rural Services Network’s State of Rural Public Services 2013 report noted that residents in smaller rural settlements travel 45% miles more than the national average and that car ownership is relatively high even among poor rural households but forecourt prices for petrol and diesel more expensive.
• A pilot VAT rebate project has run in the Scottish Islands and on the Isles of Scilly since March 2012