Petrol shortages – live: Army drivers start delivering to petrol stations as Sunak says situation ‘improving’ – The Independent

Military tankers begin delivering fuel in bid to ease crisis

No 10 has said it is “hard to put a specific date” on when fuel supplies will return to normal – but insisted the situation is improving.

“We’ve seen demand return back towards normal levels,” the prime minister’s official spokesperson said.

It comes as army tanker drivers started delivering fuel to petrol stations in a bid to ease shortages as Operation Escalin got underway.

The troops will initially be concentrated in London and the Southeast, where the worst fuel shortages remain.

Petrol stations have run dry and long queues have formed at forecourts as the UK has grappled with the fuel crisis caused by a shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers and panic buying.

1633353235

Closed stations and queues

Images have showed closed petrol stations and long queues, amid assurances from government the situation across the country is improving.

(REUTERS)

A closed down petrol pump in London

(EPA)

People queue for fuel at a petrol station in Hemel Hempstead

(PA)

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 14:13

1633351879

Sunak comment sparks jokes about petrol shortages

People have joked about the petrol shortages after Rishi Sunak said he wants to make the UK “the most exciting place on the planet”.

See the reaction to this tweet here:

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 13:51

1633350026

‘Hard to put specific date’ on when supplies will return to normal – No 10

On when fuel supplies would return to normal, Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said: “It’s hard to put a specific date on that, as it’s largely driven by demand.

“We have seen demand return to … starting to return to normal levels, obviously it varies over the country.”

They added: “We continue to want to reassure the public that we have significant stocks of fuel around the country.”

Additional reporting by PA

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 13:20

1633349101

‘Continual improving picture’ over weekend

Speaking about fuel shortages, the prime minister’s official spokesperson said there had been a “continual improving picture with fuel stocks increasing and more fuel being delivered than is being used” over the weekend.

“That’s been a sustained picture for a number of days now, and as we’ve seen demand return back towards normal levels,” they said.

“Fully appreciate there are still some challenges, particularly in and around London and the south east, and how frustrating that must be, and that’s why we’re doing everything possible including using Armed Forces personnel to bolster getting in more supply.”

Additional reporting by PA

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 13:05

1633348312

What is Operation Escalin?

Army tanker drivers are taking to the roads for the first time to deliver supplies to beleaguered petrol stations hit by the fuel crisis in a move dubbed Operation Escalin.

Around 200 military personnel – half of them drivers – are being deployed, despite ministers insisting the situation at the pumps is easing.

The troops – who have been on standby since the start of last week – will initially be concentrated in London and the South East, where the worst shortages remain.

They include members of 3rd Logistic Support Regiment who have been training with the petroleum industry logistics company Hoyers in Thurrock in Essex.

Read more about the operation here:

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 12:51

1633347292

Government spokesperson on Operation Escalin

As Operation Escalin got underway this morning, a government spokesperson said there were “signs of improvement in average forecourt stocks” across the UK.

“Stocks in London and the South of England have been recovering at slightly slower rates than other parts of the UK, so we have begun deploying military personnel to boost supply in these areas,” they said.

“More than half of those who have completed training to make fuel deliveries are being deployed to terminals serving London and the South East of England, demonstrating that the sector is allocating drivers to areas most affected in this first phase from Monday.”

Additional reporting by PA

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 12:34

1633345792

Queues remain at petrol stations

As the army tanker deliveries got underway this morning, long queues remained at some petrol stations.

Here are images from petrol stations in Kent and Hertfordshire, where cars line up down roads as drivers wait to fill up:

Motorists queue for fuel at an Esso petrol station in Ashford, Kent

(PA)

People queue for fuel at a petrol station in Hemel Hempstead

(PA)

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 12:09

1633344712

‘There is a shortage of lorry drivers actually around the world’ – PM

And staying on this topic, Boris Johnson spoke about supply chain issues at a Network Rail site in Manchester this morning.

“That’s really a function of the world economy, particularly the UK economy, coming back to life after Covid, sucking in gas in particular – there is a massive demand for that in Asia,” he said.

“There is a shortage of lorry drivers actually around the world, from Poland to the US, and even in China they are short of lorry drivers.”

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 11:51

1633343889

Brexit?

UK ministers have repeatedly denied that the fuel crisis has anything to do with Brexit and have cast the trucker shortage as a global problem.

But European neighbours have not experienced the same queues at gas stations.

Here is The Independent’s editorial on this issue:

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 11:38

1633341729

Rishi Sunak gives positive message to media

Rishi Sunak told the media this morning that the petrol crisis was “improving”.

As well as in an interview on LBC, the chancellor gave the same message to Good Morning Britain.

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 11:02

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *