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UK motorists drain petrol pumps as panic continues

By Sean Farrell

Date: Tuesday 28 Sep 2021

UK motorists drain petrol pumps as panic continues

(Sharecast News) - UK motorists are continuing to panic-buy petrol leaving filling stations empty within hours of fuel arriving, the petrol station trade body said.

Brian Madderson, chair of the Petrol Retailers Association, said as soon as a tanker arrived at a filling station the news spreads on social media and motorists empty it.

"It is like bees to a honey pot. Everyone flocks there and ... within a few hours it is out again," Madderson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. After a weekend of queues outside petrol stations the government had hoped panic-buying would abate and is considering using the army for deliveries.

Madderson said his members were reluctant to limit how much petrol customers could buy because of fears over disputes with angry motorists. Prioritising key workers such as NHS staff is also unworkable, he said.

"It is confrontational, we don't want to put our staff at risk with confronting their customers, so that has got some merits, but also a lot of demerits."

The government has put the army on standby but is trying to avoid deploying troops in oil lorries. The Conservative chair of the defence select committee said mobilising the army would shore up public confidence and ease panic-buying.

"I believe the army should not just be put on standby but in fact mobilised, be seen to be used. That will help ease the pressure on shortages of course, it will return public confidence," Ellwood told Sky News.

The government is relaxing immigration rules in an attempt to attract lorry drivers from Europe to ease supply chain problems affecting food and other goods as well as petrol. Many drivers left the UK because of Brexit and are now unwilling to return.

Opposition politicians have accused the government of ignoring warnings about an impending logistics crisis caused by a lack of drivers.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour's shadow home secretary, said: "This is a catastrophic failure of leadership. It looks like we've ended up with petrol running out, the prime minister talking about bringing the army in. This is a crisis of the government's own making."


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