FAMILIES have been urged to have their say on plans to double the amount of fuel stored on the giant Oikos site on Canvey.

The increase proposed would mean enough fuel on the Haven Road site to fill the Royal Albert Hall more than eight times over.

The firm in charge of the site launched a consultation to destroy the myths and deal with the concerns residents may have.

A plant has operated on the Oikos site for more than 80 years, since 1936, with Oikos considered a “nationally significant bulk liquid, oil and fuel import, storage and distribution harbour”.

This means any changes impact on the country as a whole but most strikingly on those living on Canvey.

The UK currently requires more fuel products than it can produce, resulting on a reliance upon the importation of fuel from abroad.

This fuel has to be stored and the facility at Oikos means essential supplies continue to reach UK industries.

But some argue if it is going to be stored on Canvey then those living in the area should see greater benefits whether it is jobs or investment in the community.

Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Independent Party has questioned “what is the benefit to Canvey residents?” and whether there will be an effect on traffic and infrastructure from any increase.

Residents have echoed those sentiments, although the recent consultation put some at ease.

Melvin Stannard, 69, from Canvey, said: “We had concerns at first, particularly about the construction traffic and the environment, as we don’t live far from the site.

“After speaking to Oikos at the consultation, they have reassured me that they have all bases covered to protect residential areas and the environment.”

Oikos wants to expand its storage facility from 290,000 cubic metres to 600,000 cubic metres at the site off Haven Road, Canvey.

The site had previously held more than the 290,000 cubic metres but the planned expansion would more than double the amount currently stored.

The plans involve new giant tanks on the south side of the estate with new pipes and loading arms to move fuel in and out from the existing jetties.

A new workshop, an office extension, additional road tanker loading bays, and more parking could also be installed.

The plan is a long way from fruition.

Development proposals are at an early stage – with detailed design, evaluation and assessment still needed. Following the consultation last month, a further statutory consultation will take place in Spring 2020 following the submission of detailed plans.

Bosses are aiming to submit a development consent order to the secretary of state with full plans early in 2021.

A decision is expected in the summer of 2022, with construction commencing immediately if the scheme is approved.

The project will form a continuation of the operations already underway at Oikos including unloading liquid products from ship.

Tony Woodward, general manager at Oikos, said: “This project is essential in supplying fuel to the rest of the UK to meet the jet and diesel demand that there is.”