How key workers are coping with fuel demand across Norfolk
- Credit: SUBMITTED
The surge in demand for fuel has seen queues at stations across the country - but how is it impacting our key workers?
Despite assurances that there is no shortage, people are still panic-buying fuel, causing long queues outside petrol stations and congestion on the roads.
But the county's emergency services are coping with the challenges.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has said that it has good supplies and that there is no risk to its operational response.
Norfolk Police has said the situation has not impacted the service it provides to the community. However, it has warned about the impact of panic-buying.
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A spokesperson said: "While there is fuel disruption, there isn’t a shortage of fuel nationally and there is no need to panic buy.
"We’d urge the public not to call police about queues at petrol station and ask them to consider whether it is necessary to queue or create congestion on some roads, which can cause delays to other motorists and have an impact on critical and emergency services."
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Staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital have been told to plan their journeys into work ahead of time.
A spokesperson said: "We have been advising staff to leave extra time for their journey into work and think about alternative arrangements if they encounter transport issues, such as public transport or walking in.
"We have over 10,000 staff who work at the trust. We've had no staffing issues currently and all services are running as normal but of course it depends on how the situation develops."
The East of England Ambulance Service said the fuel disruption is not an NHS issue, and could not add any further comment. However, concerns have been raised that queues forming outside petrol stations may potentially block emergency responders.
Care providers have also felt the impact, with carers struggling to reach clients due to a lack of fuel. They are also facing delays in getting to clients due to having to queue at petrol stations.
Despite the challenges, they are making every effort to reach their clients.
Elijah Adeyemi, managing director of Norwich-based Norvic Healthcare, said: "We had one carer get up at 1am in order to get to a petrol station without having to queue. Another has been using their push-bike to get to clients."
Bus companies in the region have confirmed they have good reserves of fuel, but services are being affected due to congested roads blocking access to bus stops, and also staff having difficulties getting to work.
Charles Sanders, 63, who co-owns Sanders Coaches with his brother Paul, said: "Our services are running late everywhere, we're having to divert services because of queues obstructing traffic.
"Some people may not be able to get on their journeys due to congestion, and a number of our staff are struggling to get to work due to a lack of fuel. We're managing the situation on a day-to-day basis and hope problems ease."
While bus services have been impacted, train services in the region remain unaffected. A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: "We are running a reliable and punctual service which provides a good alternative to using the car – especially when people are concerned about fuel shortages.
"We would always encourage people to use the train instead of cars where possible as it is a much more sustainable way of travelling.”
According to a Royal Mail spokesperson, there is currently nothing to worry about in terms of getting post on time.
They said: "We have good access to fuel supplies and are operating as normal. We continue to monitor the situation.”
Jet-setters travelling from Norwich Airport have also been reassured that there shouldn't be any disruption to their journeys.
A spokesperson said: “We currently have no issues with deliveries of aviation fuel and vehicle fuel to the airport, and will keep the situation under review.”