Military crews have immediate impact on fuel delivery as areas notice ‘marked improvement’

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For now, the military forces have been focused on London and South-England regions as they “have been recovering at slightly slower rates than other parts of the UK”, according to a government spokesperson. “We are working closely with industry to help increase fuel stocks and there are signs of improvement in average forecourt stocks across the UK with demand continuing to stabilise,” the representative added.

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

Their impact on the nationwide shortages has already been seen by The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) who welcomed the help and noticed a “marked improvement” across the nearly 5,500 independent filling stations that it represents.

However, a statement released by Gordon Blamer, the executive director of PRA, read more needed to be done to address “the needs of disproportionately affected areas.”

According to Mr Blamer, even with military assistance, it could take up to ten days to fully restock forecourts that have been struggling to meet consumer demands.

He said: “Today’s figures show the situation is still challenging around London and the southeast despite a marginal improvement: 62 percent of the sites surveyed have both grades of fuel (petrol and diesel) available, 18 percent have only one grade and 20 percent are dry.

“Across the rest of the country, however, there has been a marked improvement since yesterday with 86 percent of sites having both grades of fuel thanks to steady deliveries and stabilising demand – six percent have only one grade and eight percent being dry.

“We are grateful for the support lent by the government through their provision of military drivers, although further action must be taken to address the needs of the disproportionately affected areas.”

The PRA executive director told Sky News that the ongoing shortages in the southeast were mostly due to the large population and relative scarcity of petrol stations per capita.

As a reassuring sign for all drivers, forecourt operator EG Group announced on Monday that they would be lifting the £30 cap on buying fuel, which was introduced when panic buying first began.

An EG Group spokesperson said: “Following a significant improvement in fuel availability at our sites, with customer purchasing behaviour returning to normal levels in the majority of locations, we are pleased to confirm that we can now remove the £30 cap on buying fuel.”

Military assistance and emergency visa schemes were announced by the government as short-term solutions to tackle what Boris Johnson has named a “period of adjustment” — after Brexit cut off the supply of labour from the EU.

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On Friday, Mr Johnson’s government issued a U-turn on the said emergency visa scheme which was supposed to expire on 24 December.

The immediate work visas offered to nearly 5,000 foreign heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers will now expire at the end of February.

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