A water refill scheme, which offers visitors to town centres a supply of fresh drinking water, is to expand to London, but organisers admit it has yet to engage independent retailers. 

The campaign Refill now has 5,700 water stations around the country, including Costa Coffee, Premier Inn, and Fuller pubs. 

It will now be expanded to London, initially operating in five areas including Greenwich town centre and Lewisham High Street.

However, despite its claim of operating in shops, the scheme is not present in any independent stores. 

“Corner shops would need accessible taps and a hygienic water supply, so it’s more difficult,” said Gus Hoyt, the campaign’s programme manager. 

“We are not insisting people stop selling bottled water but this is offering people a choice.”  

Peter Lamb, of Lamb’s Larder in East Sussex said: “It’s a nice thing to do but bottled water is a significant part of our business. 

“It is okay for Costa Coffee to do this – water makes up a minuscule percentage of their profits. 

“But for convenience stores like us it really matters.”