Why is it so difficult to buy bottled water?

Empty shelves in the water aisle of a Tesco store have been reported up and down the country. 

Empty shelves in the water aisle of a Tesco store have been reported up and down the country. - Credit: PA

Bottled water is sparse on the shelves at the moment as the industry has sought to prioritise more essential items during the HGV driver shortage. 

Industry insiders have confirmed that the HGV driver shortage has meant space on lorries is in shorter supply.

As a result heavy, bulky items like water which push up the lorry's weight are not being prioritised in the same way other items are. 

On top of that, the hot weather has meant more of the stock is being bought, thus making shelves emptier. 

Experts added that this, coupled with the 'pingdemic', had resulted in an industry-wise issue. 

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Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “A shortage in HGV driver numbers has resulted in minor disruption to some supply chains, delaying the restocking of some items in some areas. Supermarkets are working closely with their suppliers to ensure that consumers are able to get hold of all the goods they need.

"Nonetheless, government must rapidly increase the number of HGV driving tests taking place, fill gaps by providing visas for EU HGV drivers, and also look for a longer-term solution to this issue."

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The Road Haulage Association (RHA) previously said it believed there is a shortfall of about 60,000 haulage drivers in the UK after around 30,000 HGV driving tests did not take place last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hauliers blamed the shortage on a large proportion of drivers being foreign nationals from European countries who had returned to the EU, combined with truck drivers not being included on the government’s list of skilled labour, leaving new arrivals needing immigration paperwork.

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