British Army Put On Standby To Assist UK Fuel Crisis
After four days of cars queuing for petrol and stations running out of fuel, the British Army has been put on standby to assist with the crisis.
After days of panic buying from motorists, it has subsequently been announced that up to 150 military tank drivers will prepare to transport fuel to petrol stations to try and ease the crisis.
Despite transport secretary Grant Shapps urging the public to ‘be sensible’ on Sunday, demand for fuel reached ‘500% above the normal level’ the day prior, The Financial Times reports.
Meanwhile, according to the BBC, more industries than just the fuel industry have been hit in the UK. Due to a shortage of over 100,000 lorry drivers in recent months, supermarkets and food suppliers have also been affected by the crisis.
Since Friday, the price of unleaded petrol has risen by a penny for a litre, which marks an eight-year high, according to the RAC.
Due to the nationwide demand, RAC admitted that a small number of retailers had even deliberately risen prices.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said that the government has since placed the army on standby, calling it a ‘sensible, precautionary step’, to have them ready to help in any way possible.
If required, the deployment of military personnel will provide the supply chain with additional capacity as a temporary measure to help ease pressures caused by spikes in localised demand for fuel.
To begin with, 75 military drivers will be on standby and a total of 150 will be made available if required, the BBC states.
In a bid to ease the crisis, the UK government has also allowed an extension to ADR licences; special driver licences given to those who transport fuel and other similar goods. They often require exams and refresher training.
While some licenses were set to expire between September 27 and December 31, they have since been extended to January 31, 2022, without drivers having to partake in extra exams or training.
In a joint statement, 10 companies, including BP and Shell, said:
As many cars are now holding more fuel than usual, we expect that demand will return to its normal levels in the coming days, easing pressures on fuel station forecourts.
Ministers have also been called upon by Unison to ‘designate fuel stations for the sole use of key workers’ as, while some ambulance stations have their own fuel pumps, other key workers have been left without fuel.
Around 3,000 new driving recruits are hoped to undertake shorter and more intensive driving courses to help ease the crisis, while up to one million qualified drivers are also being strongly encouraged to take up their old jobs.
The lack of lorry drivers is reported as being caused by factors such as adequate pay, the coronavirus pandemic, a workforce which was ageing as well as Brexit.
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