BORIS Johnson is set to consider emergency plans to end Britain’s petrol panic – with industry bosses fearing the fuel crisis could last at least another week.
The PM will today mull plans to deploy the army to drive fuel tankers amid petrol pump chaos caused by panic buying and a shortage of HGV drivers, it’s reported.
The military could be scrambled to deliver fuel supplies as the crisis spiralled over the weekend.
Up to 90 per cent of all service stations outside of motorways are now dry as Brits raced to fill up their motors.
Brawls have broken out on petrol station forecourts as frustrated drivers clashed while queuing at pumps – turning on each other in shocking scenes.
The government could call on hundreds of soldiers to drive tankers under an emergency plan, The Guardian reports.
It comes as…
- Petrol supplies have been plundered with industry figures revealing 85% of stations have run out of fuel
- Soldiers could be called in to help deliver fuel tankers as the PM mulls calling in the army
- Brawls have broken out across forecourts – including dramatic scenes between moped drivers
- Competition laws have been suspended in an attempt to curb panic buying
- The UK’s second-biggest oil refinery faces collapse over a £223million VAT payment
- An ambulance crashed into traffic waiting for petrol while rushing to an emergency
- Grant Shapps blamed hauliers for the chaotic scenes
- A list of petrol stations with fuel can be seen here
Operation Escalin – set up to deal with fallout from no-deal Brexit – would see the military transport a reserve fleet of up to 80 tankers.
Ministers including Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Home Secretary Priti Patel reportedly held crunch talks on Sunday.
They were shown government figures which suggested petrol stations across most of England had average stock below 20 per cent, enough for just one or two days, The Telegraph reports.
It could take up to three weeks for soldiers to be fully mobilised, with the first on the roads within 10 days.
It comes as the government ripped up competition laws in a bid to get fuel delivered to locations hardest hit by shortages.
On Sunday, Mr Shapps refused to deny the military could be drafted to help with fuel deliveries.
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When asked, he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “We’ll do whatever’s required”.
Petrol Retailers Association chairman Brian Madderson told the Mirror: “We think it’s going to go on for at least a further week, maybe ten days.
“The problem we’ve got is there are a finite number of tankers that can carry fuel and a finite number of drivers.
“There will be some respite because the cars of panic buyers are full…but I can’t see a quick fix.
We think it’s going to go on for at least a further week, maybe ten days
Petrol Retailers Association chairman Brian Madderson
“It’s going to take a long while to get back to normal where all forecourts have the right amount of fuel.”
The told the BBC the shortages were down to “panic buying, pure and simple”
The Petrol Retailers Association, which represents around 5,500 independent outlets, said between 50 and 90 per cent of their members’ forecourts had run out of fuel.
Oil giant BP said a third of its petrol stations had run out of the two main two grades of fuel.
Britain has plenty of fuel at terminals and refineries, but a lack of HGV drivers to transport it to petrol stations.
Supermarkets recorded rocketing demand and thousands of garages imposed £30 limits in a bid to conserve supplies.
Fears were growing yesterday that the problem — triggered by a shortage of delivery drivers — could result in schools being forced to close and care homes running out of food.
In a bid to ease the crisis, Mr Shapps has approved temporary visas for 5,000 overseas HGV drivers to help ease the crisis.
But he admitted on Sunday that the lorry driver shortage could last “years” despite government plans to train 4,000 more homegrown lorry drivers.
The Telegraph reports that the visas were not due to come online for a fortnight, but the Home Office insisted eligible drivers could be fast-tracked sooner.
But retail and haulier bosses have warned the government their plans to ease the driver shortage would fail to prevent empty shop shelves at Christmas.