Petrol stations close nationally as HGV driver crisis worsens

Covers on fuel pumps at a Shell filling station in Smithdown Road, Liverpool. Deliveries to supermar

Fuel shortages have forced a number of petrol stations to close this morning - Credit: PA

HGV driver shortages has impacted fuel deliveries nationally, forcing some petrol stations to close.

BP have said they have two thirds of normal stock levels and have had to close a "handful" of petrol stations. Exxon Mobil, who provide Tesco Alliance's fuel, have said that a "small number" of petrol forecourts have been impacted.

Ministers are under pressure to solve the crisis, facing calls to ease immigration rules as an emergency measure to attract HGV drivers from overseas.

It is thought there are 100,000 drivers needed to meet the demand in the UK.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said HGV drivers could be added to the skilled worker list for immigration purposes. 

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The fuel shortage heaps more pressure on the government following problems in the food industry and rising gas prices that has caused concern as we head into winter. 

Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association trade body accused ministers of “government by inertia”, allowing the situation to get “gradually worse” in recent months.

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“We have got a shortage of 100,000 (drivers),” he told BBC’s Newsnight. “When you think that everything we get in Britain comes on the back of a lorry – whether it’s fuel or food or clothes or whatever it is – at some point, if there are no drivers to drive those trucks, the trucks aren’t moving and we’re not getting our stuff.

“I don’t think we are talking about absolutely no fuel or food or anything like that, people shouldn’t panic buy food or fuel or anything else, that’s not what this is about.

“This is about stock outs, it’s about shortages, it’s about a normal supply chain being disrupted.”

The HGV sector has had difficulties recruiting new drivers in recent months, which has exacerbated driver shortages following Brexit immigration rules. 

Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy said: “What we are looking at is a winter of discontent. We have shortages of staff, shortages of supply and shortages of skills.”

Gordon Balmer, executive director at Petrol Retailers Association has suggested motorists should keep enough fuel in the tank to reach alternative stations in case of closures. 

Have you experienced difficulties finding petrol this morning? Let us know in the comments. 

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