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HomeUK NewsGovernment considers calling up army to tackle fuel shortages

Government considers calling up army to tackle fuel shortages

One petrol station has reported that there has been a 500% spike in demand compared to the previous week, with motorway service stations being given priority for refills

The Downstream Oil Protocol will make it easier for suppliers and producers, as well as hauliers to work together in prioritising the delivery of fuel to locations most in need.

The UK government is now considering using the army, in order to help with the fuel deliveries as some petrol brands report that as many as 90% of their sites are now running dry.

One petrol station has reported that there has been a 500% spike in demand compared to the previous week, with motorway service stations being given priority for refills.

It comes as Downing Street has announced on Sunday that it was temporarily suspending competition laws in order to allow the fuel industry to target petrol stations that are most in need of fresh supplies.

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, told LBC: “We did a straw poll yesterday morning of a number of our members who have around 200 sites between them.

“50% of those we spoke to said their sites were dry and some actually said 90% of their sites were dry, so it is on a company-by-company basis and almost on a brand-by-brand basis because some oil companies are still relatively okay in terms of deliveries.”

Brian Madderson from the PRA added that dry sites are being restocked but “the number of tankers that they’re receiving are below the number that they need to be properly restocked at their normal level of between 40% and 50%”.

This comes after BP has closed a number of their UK petrol stations as the company gets to grips with the current delivery problems that it has blamed on the national shortage of HGV and tanker drivers.

He described the nation’s purchasing rate as “frenzied” and told the BBC that the forecourt closures and depleted pumps were down to “panic buying, pure and simple”.

Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary met industry executives on Sunday in order to try to find a way through the supply chain pressures that have led to the panic-buying of fuel in the UK.

In a statement, he said: “We have long-standing contingency plans in place to work with industry so that fuel supplies can be maintained and deliveries can still be made in the event of a serious disruption.

Transport Secretary: ‘Carry on as normal’

“While there has always been and continues to be plenty of fuel at refineries and terminals, we are aware that there have been some issues with supply chains.

“This is why we will enact the Downstream Oil Protocol to ensure industry can share vital information and work together more effectively to ensure disruption is minimised.

“We thank HGV drivers and all forecourt staff for their tireless work during this period.”

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On Sunday, BP said: “We are experiencing fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK. This is being caused by delays in our supply chain due to a shortage of qualified drivers – this issue is impacting industries across the UK.”

It estimated around 30% of its 1,200 UK sites do not currently have either of the main grades of fuel.

“We welcome the government’s decision to issue temporary visas to truck drivers,” it said.

However, prime minister Boris Johnson is considering the use of the army in order to help deliver supplies amid a national shortage of HGV drivers to man the fuel tankers on Britain’s roads.

The government’s competition announcement means that the industry will be temporarily exempt from the Competition Act 1998 to share information and optimise supply.

It will make it much easier for suppliers, producers and hauliers to work together in prioritising deliveries to locations most in need.

This comes after a leading customs expert, who predicted the HGV truck driver shortage and issues causes by the sea border in the Irish Sea, believe that delayed bureaucratic customs laws will lead to meat and fruit and vegetables from the EU being too costly to import.

In a statement, industry stakeholders said: “We are in regular contact with government ministers and policy officials and it was reassuring to meet with the business secretary again on Sunday evening and discuss further action.

“We will continue to work closely in partnership over this period with local and national government and want to reassure the public that the issues that have arisen are due to temporary spikes in customer demand, not a national shortage of fuel.”

The government will be hoping that the new measures help ease the pressures that have been brought on by a national HGV driver shortage, which has seen supermarkets struggle to fill their shelves and petrol stations overrun by motorists.

On Saturday night, the government had revealed that it would be offerring short-term visas for foreign hauliers to come to the UK in order to help plug the gap.

Thousands of more drivers will be trained up also, with the UK government fast-tracking those who have wanted to get out onto the roads, transporting goods, as soon as feasibly possible.

Eve Cooper
Eve Cooper
I've been writing articles and stories for as long as I can remember and in the past few years I've had the fortune of turning that love & passion for writing into my job :)

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