The UK’s fuel crisis is “getting worse” in some areas, an industry boss has warned, as queues outside petrol stations caused gridlocked traffic for a second consecutive weekend.
Brian Maderson, president of the Petrol Retailers’ Association, insisted that the situation in London and the South East remained “grim” despite claims from government ministers that the situation had stabilized.
Large queues and closed forecourts were reported across the capital on Saturday. Aerial footage shot from over Honeypot Lane (A4140) in north west London shows dozens of cars lined up to enter the Tesco Esso Express garage at the corner of a roundabout.
BBC journalist Lewis Goodall also tweeted that queues in an area of south London were “even longer” than in the previous week and causing “significantly overcrowding”.
Mr Maderson said the north of England and Scotland had improved, but fuel shortages remained a “really big problem” in London and the south east. He added: “If anything, it had gotten worse”.
Speaking to Sky News, he revealed that a survey conducted by his organization had found that just 16 percent of the more than 1,000 sites examined on Saturday did not have fuel. It improved to 27 percent on Friday when it was reported dry, but local bottlenecks remained.
“We need to prioritize delivery to fill stations in London and the South East starting immediately – especially independent ones that are neighborhood retail sites,” he said.
Elsewhere, a petrol station in Chelsea, west London, was charging almost twice the average price of fuel on Saturday morning, shortly before it was completely sold out. The Cloisters Gulf petrol station on Sloane Avenue was selling the fuel for £2.68 a litre – almost double the average price of £1.36.
Mr Maderson said rising global oil prices meant motorists should expect higher prices at pumps when filling stations are restored. He continued: “Expect to grow anything from 1, 2 or 3p per liter at the pump.
“It’s not profiteering. It’s a real wholesale price increase due to global factors.”
Military drivers will be deployed to deliver fuel to the forecourt from Monday to deal with the crisis. About 200 military personnel, including 100 drivers, are training at hauler sites and will begin deliveries at petrol stations to help ease the situation.
Mr Madison said the use of the military would be a “big help”, but warned it would have “limited impact” in difficult areas. “It’s not going to be the major panacea”, he said.
Despite warnings from industry bosses that the crisis was not over, Health Secretary Sajid Javid sought to reassure Britons on Saturday that the situation was “stabilising” in much of the country and that the military would be given only “precautions”. being deployed as
“I think it’s true that as a precaution, the government has asked the military to help,” he told Sky News. “I think it’s the right way to make sure people have the full confidence they need.
“I think it will further stabilize the situation and give more confidence.”
The government on Friday announced a U-turn on its emergency visa scheme, with 5,000 foreign food transport drivers able to extend their temporary visas beyond Christmas Eve.
Some 300 freight drivers will be encouraged to come to the UK immediately and allowed to stay until the end of March, amid fears that the shortage could lead to chaos during the festive period.
Mr Javid acknowledged there would be “competition for drivers” with other European countries, but he was “convinced” that the scheme would attract more EU drivers. He added: “In the short term I think it’s worth trying to see if we can get more drivers [from abroad]. I think it will work.”
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson did not rule out the possibility of supply disruptions over Christmas. in an interview with many times, he stressed that there would be no further increase in 5,000 visas for lorry drivers because ministers cannot access the lever marked as “uncontrolled immigration”.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak told daily mail There is a global disruption in supply chains in other industries but he acknowledged the shortfall was “very real”.
“We are seeing real disruption in the supply chain in various regions not only here but around the world,” he told the newspaper. “We are determined to do what we can to try to reduce it as much as we can.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /