Community Fuel Station Update

Since our last update TCE Ltd are pleased to announce that we have now achieved a signed off design of the new fuel station and appear to have succeeded in bringing the project within our budget, a major achievement in itself. We have also submitted our planning application and we have a formal programme for the works.

The station will have two pumps, one petrol and one diesel, located at the rear of the forecourt. These will be accessible regardless of the direction a vehicle approaches from or which side its fuel filler is on. There will also be a red diesel pump. All will have card readers to allow fully autonomous operation using credit and debit cards. Account cards will be issued to the emergency services and critical services operators. Cash sales will also be possible for those who prefer this payment method.

The main storage tanks will be located below ground and we are looking at a similar solution for the red diesel tank, but this has still to be finalised. A small secure compound will be located at the east end of the forecourt. There will be two charging bays for electric vehicles complete with all the infrastructure required for the charging points. We are hoping to have the charging points installed as part of the works but cannot confirm this just yet. If that does not happen, we will be looking to have them installed as quickly as possible thereafter. There will also be a compressor to inflate pneumatic tyres.

The storage volumes are dramatically increased from the current capability and should allow us to continue to provide fuel for up to three weeks in the summer AFTER a tanker delivery is due should there be a problem getting a tanker here. In the winter when ferries are more affected by the weather but demand is lower, this resilience is expected to rise to about six weeks, again after the expected delivery date. It has been difficult projecting sales into the future and a big thank you goes to the Maclennan family for their help in this regard.

With the 2030 electric vehicle deadline announced by the government, overall sales are expected to fall but we suspect that there is a possibility that petrol might rise in popularity for a while. Consequently we have future proofed the storage capacity by incorporating two compartments into each tank which will allow us to vary the proportions of petrol and diesel stored. At first however, it is expected each of the two principal fuels will occupy two compartments each.

Timescales are perhaps the biggest challenge for us now. The current programme provides for a site start early in July with completion at the end of October. However, these dates are wholly dependent upon receipt of planning permission and we are aware that the Planning Department at Argyll & Bute Council are experiencing delays due to the effects of the current pandemic. We have little control over this phase of the project but will be pursuing a quick turnaround in the approval process.

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