Army to deliver fuel next week to relieve shortage

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The fleet will hit the road to help relieve pressure on petrol stations and address the shortage of HGV drivers, the Government announced last night. Officials said more fuel is now being delivered than sold, as the crisis abates – but Policing Minister Kit Malthouse has said it may take “a week or so” for the situation to return to normal. Military personnel are currently undertaking training at haulier sites across the country as part of Operation Escalin.

Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “The Government has taken decisive action to tackle the short-term disruption to our supply chains, and in particular the flow of fuel to forecourts. If people continue to revert to their normal buying patterns, we will see smaller queues and prevent petrol stations closing.”

Defence Secretary BenWallace said: “While the situation is stabilising, our Armed Forces are there to fill in any critical vacancies and help keep the country on the move.”

Kwarteng said: “It’s important to stress there is no shortage of fuel in the UK, and people should continue to buy as normal. The sooner we return to our normal buying habits, the sooner we can return to normal.Thanks to the immense efforts of industry over the past week, we are seeing continued signs that the situation at the pumps is slowly improving. UK forecourt stock levels are trending up, deliveries of fuel to forecourts are above normal levels, and fuel demand is stabilising.”

In a further step to manage pressures in the short term, the Home Office is introducing a scheme allowing up to 300 foreign fuel tanker drivers to the UK immediately on a temporary basis. Hauliers will find licensed drivers to recruit and submit applications to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which will endorse applicants and give them contracts.

As for longer-term measures, the Government is issuing a visa to 4,700 foreign food haulage drivers, who will arrive from late October and leave by February 28 – as well as 5,500 poultry workers, who will get here from late October and stay up to December 31.

The news came hours after Mr Malthouse told the BBC Radio 4 Today show: “We are still seeing strong demand in parts of the country around fuel.The distribution mechanism is trying to respond to this unprecedented demand. Hopefully, as demand and supply come better into balance over the next few days, a week or so, we will see a return to normality.”

Mr Malthouse added there are places where problems are particularly bad – with London and the South East reported to be among the hardest hit. He said: “Obviously there are only so many tankers that can be used to get this fuel around. They are trying their best to get around as fast as possible.


A woman who boasted to neighbours about getting a full tank of petrol had it stolen from her car. Jenni Turner, 34, noticed a puddle of fuel under her Ford Fiesta when she returned to her home in Erith, south east London.

Two holes had been drilled through the tank, causing £800 damage. The petrol thieves were captured on a neighbour’s CCTV camera filling up two cans last Sunday evening.

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