Petrol chaos could have knock-on effect – Will schools close?

Fuel crisis: Londoners reveal why they’re queuing for petrol

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A lack of HGV drivers has seen Brits rush to petrol stations in a bid to stock up on fuel – despite calls for customers to buy fuel as normal. Cars have been seen in winding queues and restrictions on the amount of petrol customers can buy have been implemented.

To tackle the lack of drivers the Government has introduced a temporary visa scheme which will see 5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers brought in on three-month contracts.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the move to bring in foreign workers to stem the HGV driver deficit was something he “didn’t necessarily want to do”

This will both aim to keep supermarket shelves stocked with turkeys and tackle fuel delivery difficulties.

However, there are concerns in the short term if people don’t stop panic buying petrol.

Read More: Farage urges Boris to condemn ‘selfish’ Britons panic-buying fuel

Will schools have to close?

Primary school teacher Mark Cornell, from Faversham told the I if people didn’t stop panic buying petrol it could potentially affect children’s school lessons.

He told the publication: “We’re actually potentially in the situation where because people are panic buying – I don’t want to be scaremongering, of course, – but basically, you could potentially be in the situation where if people don’t stop panic buying, or if there isn’t something, maybe some kind of key worker priority or something, you could end up with schools, not being able to open.

“Fingers crossed that, you know, it will iron itself out and people see some common sense and it will all be okay.”

He went on to urge people to be mindful of how key workers could also be impacted by unnecessary fuel purchases, explaining how colleagues had faced upheaval trying to get fuel.

Mr Cornell continued: “It’s not just me … there’s, doctors, nurses, delivery drivers, lorries all that kind of stuff that really do need it and there’s probably some people who just don’t.”

Schools have only just settled back into normal routines following numerous lockdowns and Covid restrictions.

As yet, there has been no announcement of school closures, and the Government and fuel industry are urging Brits to buy petrol as normal.

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One industry spokesman said panic buying is causing “really serious problems” at petrol stations.

Chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association Brian Madderson said at least half of petrol stations are reporting they are out of fuel.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend, Mr Madderson said the Government implementing 5,000 HGV foreign driver visas, was not likely to relieve petrol pressures in the “ultra-short term”.

He said: “We might see benefits of them later in the autumn as the drivers come across and start to work, but in the very short term this panic buying has caused really serious problems.

“I’ve talked to a lot of our members this morning. They serve the main roads, the rural areas, the urban roads, and anywhere in between 50 percent and 90 percent of their forecourts are currently dry, and those that aren’t dry are partly dry and running out soon.”

Mr Madderson said oil companies were “giving motorway service areas priority delivery”, resulting in drivers “flocking” on to the nation’s major highways to fill up.

On the M25 there is currently no fuel available clockwise at Clacket Lane Services, and no fuel available at the diesel pumps on M25 both ways at Cobham Services.

Pease Pottage services on the M23 also has no fuel.

Mr Madderson said: “One of them mentioned to me that yesterday they had a 500 percent increase in demand compared to a week ago, which is quite extraordinary.

“There is plenty of fuel in this country but it is in the wrong place for the motorists.

“It is still in the terminals and the refineries, and the amount they can now ship into and deliver to the forecourts is limited by two things.

“One, the availability of the hardware, the tankers themselves. These are specialist tankers able to deliver in pods, in those big trucks, a wide variety of fuels to the forecourts.

“There is a finite number of those and there is obviously a finite number of trained drivers, and that has been the problem, that that number of finite number of drivers has been reduced.”

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