Lisbon Câmara could close down more petrol stations

AFTER CLOSING down 50 petrol stations, Lisbon Câmara has admitted the possibility that it might close down even more in the city.

A council officer said that around 80 petrol stations did not meet the council’s operational regulation requirements. Fifty had already been closed and a further 30 had been made subject to renewed legal processes whereby changes would have to be made in order to obtain a licence.

There are currently 230 petrol stations in Lisbon with a few in the centre of the city such as in Avenida António Augusto de Aguiar, Rua João V and Campo de Ourique.

The council measures, backed by some and criticised by others, concerns the adhesion to Law 267/02 dated November 26 2005, which laid down the rules and regulations for the operation of petrol stations.

“The council’s policy is that the letter of the law must be followed and our main concerns are that some petrol stations do not comply with security, safety and environmental quality regulations,” the council officer said.

For the present, the council is not planning to approve licences for the setting up of any new petrol stations in the city centre or historic parts of Lisbon on environmental and safety grounds.

“It just isn’t viable to grant new licences in the city centre given the fact that petrol stations must be placed at least 20 metres from any nearby apartment or house,” the council officer added.

But António Saleiro, president of the National Association of Fuel Retailers, says that most petrol stations in the centre of the city are safer than those at hypermarkets. “In the case of an accident, it is much simpler to evacuate a street than a hypermarket,” he defends.

This was a position that wasn’t shared by Paulo Ferrero of the Citizens Forum, who said: “In most other northern European countries, you simply don’t see petrol stations in city centres; they are located in the outskirts of towns where they pose less danger.”