Motorists should be forbidden from washing their cars on the street because they are damaging the environment.

That's the view of Brian Madderson, chairman of the petrol retailers association (PRA), who, in a letter to prime minister David Cameron, is calling on the government to introduce laws on car washing – just like in certain parts of Germany.

Madderson believes washing cars on the streets is causing nasty chemicals to enter the water system, and the PRA chief is also urging the government to outlaw "pop-up" hand car wash outfits.

People washing their cars either at home or at a "pop-up" outlet could be hurting petrol stations' bottom lines as automatic car washes generate tidy profits for forecourt owners.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Madderson said: "Our car washes have to be inspected by the Environment Agency and we have to have a method of catching the oil, grease and dirty water so it doesn't go into the main drainage system.

"My members are already under threat because of falling profits they make on selling fuel and now struggling because their car wash businesses, which were a good earner, are being decimated."

Madderson added he is concerned the number of unregulated "pop-up" hand car wash outlets is "mushrooming".

The words have outraged some motoring organisations. Edmund King, AA president, tweeted: "The AA opposes [the] barmy plan to ban car washing in [the] street. It is a ritual and a fundamental right up there with [the] Magna Carta. 63 per cent wash [their] own car"

Do you think you should be forced to wash your car at a petrol station? Let us know by posting your comments below.