Siting of Fuel Stations in Residential Areas
The legality or otherwise of siting fuel stations in residential areas has remained a hotly debated subject matter with split public opinion.
Truth is, there are more fuel stations including stations for selling Liquefied Petroleum Gas, in residential areas than there are in nonresidential areas.
Per the nature of their services, it would be unthinkable to assume that the fuel stations in residential areas sprang up within two shakes of a cow’s tail and were erected in secrecy without the requisite building permits.
THE PUBLISHER is on the opinion that a fuel station sited in a residential area but adheres to the requisite safety measures which regulates their operations is safer than a fuel station in the outskirts of town but the operators are reckless when it comes to issues of safety.
The focus of the debate should rather be how to ensure the fuel stations adhere to the strict safety measures rather than where they are sited.
Even in the residential areas, there are clearly stated dos and don’ts. Sadly, the regulations are not being adhered to and that is where the genealogy of the calamity.
For instance, the required buffer area that ought to surround fuel stations in residential areas is one regulation hardly obeyed.
But a more objective look at the challenge would reveal that in many instances, the fuel stations may have left the demarcated buffer zone alright but they end up being taken over by encroachers.
In such situations, who takes the blame? Is it the Town and Country Planning officers that have perpetually slept on their jobs or the blame should be on the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies that watch unconcerned while private residences spring up near fuel stations that have the requisite building permits?
A fuel station situated in the forest could still be a death trap to motorists that patronize the place is safety measures are joked with.
We call on authorities to ensure that fuel stations, irrespective of where they are located operate with the requisite disaster mitigating equipment and undertake periodic maintenance checks.
Until this smile common sense approach is adopted, we shall continue to suffer such horrific and avoidable tragedies as the one which occurred in Accra over the weekend.