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Fuel crisis UK – live: Panic buying leaves third of BP garages empty as ministers suspend competition law

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Almost a third of BP’s petrol stations in the UK have run out of fuel due to “intense demand seem over the past days”, the oil giant said in a statement.

It comes amid continued panic buying despite the government pleading with motorists to behave normally and transport secretary Grant Shapps blaming the Road Haulage Association for creating a “manufactured crisis”, caused by an alleged media leak.

“We estimate that around 30 per cent of sites in this network do not currently have either of the main grades of fuel,” BP, which operates 1,200 sites in Britain, said in statement. “We are working to resupply as rapidly as possible.”

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced on Sunday night the government will suspend competition law in an attempt to get a grip on the fuel shortages. He pledged the move would make it easier for companies to “share vital information”, and prioritise parts of the country and locations most at need.

The intervention comes less than 24 hours after ministers were told, by the head of the Petrol Retailers Association, that plans to offer temporary visas to 5,000 foreign HGV drivers were unlikely to fix the immediate and “really serious problems” caused by panic buying petrol and diesel.

Citing conversations with the trade body’s membership, its chair Brian Madderson suggested that “between 50 per cent and 90 per cent of their forecourts are currently dry, and those that aren't dry are partly dry and running out soon”.

Follow the latest developments in our live coverage below

Read More

Panic-buyers exacerbating ‘temporary’ petrol supply crisis, says AA president

‘The kingdom of empty shelves’: European newspapers blame Brexit for UK supply chain crisis

Emergency visas for 5,000 foreign lorry drivers will run out on Christmas Eve, ministers announce

Key Points

  • Petrol panic-buying leaves one third of BP garages empty...

  • ...as half of local stations thought to be running dry

  • Kwarteng suspends competition law to get petrol to forecourts

  • Road Haulage Association accuses government of ‘disgraceful attack’

  • Panic buying at the pumps causes petrol shortages and traffic gridlock

  • Christmas shopping disruption ‘inevitable’, warns trade body

Boris Johnson considers using army to supply petrol stations

23:00 , Sam Hancock

Hundreds of soldiers could be deployed to deliver fuel to struggling petrol stations across the country, under an emergency plan conceived years ago during the planning for a no-deal Brexit.

Boris Johnson will consider activating “Operation Escalin” on Monday after gathering senior members of the Cabinet to scrutinise the logisitics, according to various reports.

Ministers including the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, transport secretary Grant Shapps and home secretary Priti Patel gathered for a midday meeting on Sunday to discuss options to deal with the supply chain issues – including Operation Escalin, writes The Guardian.

The measure was conceived years ago during the planning for a no-deal Brexit, and would see hundreds of soldiers drafted in to drive a reserve fleet of 80 tankers. It would reportedly take up to three weeks to fully implement Escalin because some of those mobilised may already be on other deployments and others could be reservists.

A sign outside an Esso garage informing the public that they have no fuel on Saturday (Getty)
A sign outside an Esso garage informing the public that they have no fuel on Saturday (Getty)

Twitter reacts to ministers intervening in fuel crisis

22:40 , Sam Hancock

Watch: Long queues at petrol stations across UK over weekend

22:16 , Sam Hancock

Kwarteng announces temporary activation of Downstream Oil Protocol

21:55 , Sam Hancock

UK suspends competition law to get petrol to forecourts

21:29 , Sam Hancock

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said the government will suspend competition law in an attempt to get a grip on the fuel shortages being driven by panic-buying motorists,

He added the move would make it easier for companies to share information and prioritise parts of the country and locations most at need.

Announcing the measure to exempt the oil industry from the Competition Act 1998, Mr Kwarteng said:

“We have long-standing contingency plans in place to work with industry so that fuel supplies can be maintained and deliveries can still be made in the event of serious disruption.

While there has always been and continues to be plenty of fuel at refineries and terminals, we are aware that there have been some issues with supply chains.

This is why we will enact the Downstream Oil Protocol to ensure industry can share vital information and work together more effectively to ensure disruption is minimised.”

The business secretary announced the suspension in a statement on Sunday evening (Reuters)
The business secretary announced the suspension in a statement on Sunday evening (Reuters)

UK braces for fourth day of packed garages and panic buying

20:43 , Sam Hancock

BBC Radio 5 Live’s Rachel Burden reports tomorrow will be another fuel crisis-fulled day in the news.

In images: Third day of Britain’s fuel crisis

20:22 , Sam Hancock

Out of service signs on fuel pumps at a Shell garage which is out of all fuel in London (Getty)
Out of service signs on fuel pumps at a Shell garage which is out of all fuel in London (Getty)
Motorists queue for petrol and diesel fuel at a petrol station off of the M3 motorway near Fleet (AFP via Getty Images)
Motorists queue for petrol and diesel fuel at a petrol station off of the M3 motorway near Fleet (AFP via Getty Images)
A Shell petrol station in Bracknell, Berkshire, which has no fuel (PA)
A Shell petrol station in Bracknell, Berkshire, which has no fuel (PA)
A car drives past a sign informing customers that they are out of fuel at a BP garage on Sunday in Grove Park, London (Getty)
A car drives past a sign informing customers that they are out of fuel at a BP garage on Sunday in Grove Park, London (Getty)

More than half of UK’s petrol stations ‘out of fuel’ - report

20:00 , Sam Hancock

The FT’s Jim Pickard reports an estimated 50-85 per cent of UK petrol stations - outside of the motorway network - have run out of fuel.

Tory MP says fuel crisis like 1970s ‘Winter of Discontent’

19:31 , Sam Hancock

Man drives 200 miles and sees three garages selling fuel

18:55 , Sam Hancock

A man on Twitter has responded to accusations there are only five garages out of fuel across the UK, saying he drove for 200 miles on Saturday and saw just three sites running a normal service.

Petrol crisis deepens as half of local stations out of supplies

18:49 , Sam Hancock

The fuel crisis has escalated with at least half of petrol stations not on motorways believed to have run dry, following a weekend of panic-buying by spooked motorists.

The Petrol Retailers Association reported the alarming survey of its independent members – as oil giant BP warned that almost one third of its sites had no supplies.

Government pleas for drivers to stop filling their cars “when they don’t need it” fell on deaf ears as long queues formed at forecourts, operators rationed supplies – and police were called to one scuffle in London.

Read our full report here:

Petrol crisis deepens as at least half of local stations run out of supplies

Fight breaks out at petrol station in north London

18:06 , Sam Hancock

There have been more fights at petrol stations. Tensions rose at one garage in north London on Sunday, prompting a scuffle to break out on the forecourt, PA reports.

Footage circulated on social media showed two men in helmets engaging with each other at a petrol station in Haverstock Hill while another man appeared to be trying to keep them separate.

A tussle then broke out and several people intervened.

The Metropolitan Police said they were called to the scene shortly before 1.50pm to reports a man had been assaulted.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of assault and has been taken into custody at a north London police station.

No injuries were reported.

Nearly a third of BP’s UK fuel stations ‘run out of fuel’

17:09 , Sam Hancock

Almost a third of BP’s British petrol stations had run out of the two main grades of fuel on Sunday, the oil giant confirmed.

It comes amid continued panic buying despite the government pleading with motorists to behave normally and insisting there was no fundamental shortage.

Lines of vehicles formed at petrol stations for a third day running as motorists waited, some for hours, to fill up with fuel after oil firms reported a lack of drivers was causing transport problems from refineries to forecourts, images from across the country show.

“With the intense demand seen over the past two days, we estimate that around 30 per cent of sites in this network do not currently have either of the main grades of fuel,” BP, which operates 1,200 sites in Britain, said in statement.

“We are working to resupply as rapidly as possible.”

Closed pumps at a BP garage in south London on Sunday (PA)
Closed pumps at a BP garage in south London on Sunday (PA)

Opinion: ‘Only by reducing demand will gas supply no longer be an issue’

17:06 , Sam Hancock

Let’s briefly step away from the fuel crisis, and look at what’s going on in the retail energy market.

Doug Parr writes that as the effect of the gas price shock starts to seep into the lives of ordinary people over the coming weeks and months, many will be left wondering how the government could have allowed this to happen.

“While it is true that a global surge in demand, coupled with geopolitical games and electricity supply issues in the UK have resulted in a squeeze on supply and subsequent price hike, this is only half the story,” he says.

Read Parr’s thinking in full here:

Opinion: Only by reducing demand will gas supply no longer be an issue

BRC: Effect of reduced HGV drivers will likely be felt in new year

16:40 , Sam Hancock

Some more from Andrew Opie now. The BRC boss suggested the lack of HGV drivers would not only effect Christmas but could also move into the new year.

He told the BBC: “It leaves us and customers in particular facing further problems, particularly during Christmas, but also into the New Year.

“It’s not just supermarkets, we think supermarkets need in the region of 15,000 drivers themselves to make sure we have the same kind of Christmas that we always expect every year.”

Mr Opie added: “But if you add all of our other retailers who will be selling lots of products in the run up to Christmas and beyond, into the new year, then we’ve got a major issue around disruption.”

Christmas shopping disruption ‘inevitable’, warns trade body

16:05 , Peter Stubley

Disruption to supermarket shelves in the lead-up to Christmas is now “inevitable” due to the HGV driver shortage, according to a trade body.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability policy at British Retail Consortium, said the government’s offer of 5,000 visas for foreign workers was “too small” to make an impact.

He told the BBC: “It will help but we have to be realistic, the numbers are too small really to make a big impact on the disruption we’re anticipating at Christmas.

“I think we’re gonna see less choice, less availability, possibly a shorter shelf life as well, which is really disappointing because this could have been averted.

“5,000 drivers, don’t get me wrong, that will help and that will make some difference, but we needed so much more than that.

“The one good thing we’ve got is a really competitive retail market here and supermarkets and other retailers will move heaven and earth to make sure that everyone has a good a Christmas as possible.

“But I think it’s inevitable now, just through the shortage of drivers, that we won’t be able to get all the products off the shelves that we would have liked to.”

Shapps ‘shamefully passing the buck’ over fuel crisis

15:54 , Peter Stubley

Grant Shapps sparked an angry row by claiming hauliers have “created” the fuel shortage crisis, despite the government admitting to a lack of lorry drivers.

The transport secretary was accused of a “disgraceful attack” and of “shamefully passing the buck” for the queues at filling station forecourts, as the worsening situation threatened to engulf the government.

Anger as Grant Shapps claims hauliers have ‘created’ the fuel shortage crisis

‘Never store petrol inside your home’

15:44 , Sam Hancock

A fire service has warned the public not to store fuel inside their home after panic buying continues to caused shortages at petrol stations.

Some motorists were seen filling up plastic cans over the weekend after long queues formed at forecourts across the country.

Anyone storing more than 30 litres of petrol at their home has to inform their local Petroleum Enforcement Authority under health and safety legislation.

Union hits out at ‘backwards’ plan to recruit European workers

15:23 , Peter Stubley

A transport union has accused the government of “going backwards” by trying to recruit more workers from Europe.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), criticised the plan to offering 5,000 temporary visas to lorry drivers and 5,500 to poultry workers.

He told a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Brighton that people living in “left behind” communities across the UK should be recruited instead on decent pay and conditions.

“Instead, they want to bring people here from all over Europe, on poverty wages and poor terms and conditions,” he said.

In pictures: Panic at the pumps

15:05 , Peter Stubley

Motorists are still facing long queues at some petrol stations after two days of panic buying across the UK.

Demand has soared by up to 400 per cent and a significant proportion of garages have run, according to industry leaders.

BP said around 30 per cent of its sites had run out of the main fuel grades, while the Petrol Retailers Association said that its members had reported between 50 per cent and 90 per cent of its forecourts had run out.

Motorists queue for fuel at Asda, which has imposed a £30 limit (PA)
Motorists queue for fuel at Asda, which has imposed a £30 limit (PA)
A member of staff directs motorists trying to queue for fuel at a Sainsbury’s petrol station in south London (PA)
A member of staff directs motorists trying to queue for fuel at a Sainsbury’s petrol station in south London (PA)
A dry Shell petrol station in Bracknell, Berkshire (PA)
A dry Shell petrol station in Bracknell, Berkshire (PA)
Cars queue for fuel at a Sainsbury’s in Camberley, Surrey (PA)
Cars queue for fuel at a Sainsbury’s in Camberley, Surrey (PA)

Campaigner’s home listed as petrol station in ‘sick’ prank

14:50 , Peter Stubley

A campaigner has told how he was besieged by motorists desperate for fuel after pranksters listed his home as a petrol station.

Howard Cox, who fronts FairFuel UK and lives in Cranbrook, Kent, said he received more than 70 calls asking if he had any supplies left.

Mr Cox described the prank as “puerile and sick”. He told Kent Online: “I got home the night before last and this bloke asked if I had any petrol there. I was like ‘what?’. It sounds funny but when you get 70 calls it makes you annoyed.”

Starmer accuses ministers of ‘total lack of planning'

14:38 , Peter Stubley

Keir Starmer has accused the government of a “total lack of planning” over worker shortages caused by Brexit, as a minister attempted to shift blame on to consumers and industry leaders for the panic-buying of fuel.

‘We took the decision to leave the EU in 2016, so we’ve had five years for the government to work through the consequences,’ the Labour leader said.

Keir Starmer accuses ministers of ‘total lack of planning’ over worker shortages

14:16 , Andy Gregory

Here’s footage of David Morris, a Tory MP, describing the current set of crises as “reminiscent” of the UK’s “winter of discontent” in 1978.

Visa plan ‘unlikely to quickly fix really serious problems’ caused by panic buying

14:04 , Andy Gregory

Panic buying has caused “serious problems” for stock levels, which the government's HGV driver visa plan is unlikely to fix quickly, an industry chief has warned.

“Those measures introduced by the government this weekend are not ultra-short term,” Brian Madderson, chair of the Petrol Retailers Association told the BBC. “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 per cent and 90 per cent of their forecourts are currently dry, and those that aren't dry are partly dry and running out soon.”

He added that drivers were flocking to motorways to refuel after oil companies prioritised these service stations, prompting an anecdotal increase in demand of 500 per cent at one station compared to the previous week.

UK lacking petrol tankers as well as drivers, industry chief suggests

13:56 , Andy Gregory

In addition to a shortage of HGV drivers, the finite number of tankers available in the UK is stopping petrol from getting to motorists, according to the Petrol Retailers Association.

The group’s chair Brian Madderson told the BBC’s The World This Weekend show that the government was “loath to recognise” the pump supply issues, adding: “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.”

Opinion: Only by reducing demand will gas supply no longer be an issue

13:43 , Andy Gregory

Writing for Independent Voices, Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist Dr Doug Parr argues:

While it is true that a global surge in demand, coupled with geopolitical games and electricity supply issues in the UK have resulted in a squeeze on supply and subsequent price hike, this is only half the story.

What ministers are failing to talk about as they reassure us that they do “not expect” supplies to run out this winter, is that it is not supply but the UK’s dependency on gas, and the failure of successive governments to wean us off the stuff years ago, that has left the UK dangerously exposed.

Opinion: Only by reducing demand will gas supply no longer be an issue

‘It will create a lot of problems or accidents’: HGV driver dismisses idea of 3-month visa

13:31 , Andy Gregory

An HGV driver has said he does not believe European drivers will come to the UK for three months as it is too expensive and not enough time for them to learn the roads.

Imran Mustafa, who moved to Barcelona from Pakistan eight years ago and has been a haulage driver for three years, said he wants to move to the UK to work but the 12-week visa was not enough time to uproot his life.

“It's a temporary visa and it's for a very small time period,” he told the Press Association. “These days, people don't have the money to travel. No-one wants to travel for just three months.

“I could move as I live on my own but other people, French people, German people, Spanish people, they're already earning a lot of money, so why would they move to the UK for three months only on a temporary visa?

“I would move but not for three months. It's not enough time as we don't know the roads, the maps or how it all works. I think it will create a lot of problems or accidents.”

Nearly a third of BP sites ‘out of fuel’ due to panic buying

13:07 , Peter Stubley

BP has confirmed that 30 per cent of its sites do not have either of the main grades of fuel as a result of “intense demand” over the last two days.

The company said in a statement to Sky News: “We are experiencing fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK. This is being caused by delays in our supply chain due to a shortage of qualified drivers – this issue is impacting industries across the UK.

“We are working to resupply as rapidly as possible. Sites that have multiple grade-outs may have closed for fuel purchases – we do not have an estimate of this number”, the statement continued.

“We continue to work hard with our haulier supplier, Hoyer, to optimise fuel distribution and to minimise the level of disruption, keeping key sites supplied and restocking as rapidly as possible. The sites affected are changing as we continue deliveries as usual.

“We welcome the government’s decision to issue temporary visas to truck drivers. While it will take time for the industry to strengthen deliveries and rebuild stocks at retail sites, we believe this step can help address the economy-wide shortage of drivers with a targeted and temporary measure.”

BP operates around 1,200 petrol stations around the UK.

Asda sets £30 fuel limits at forecourts

12:55 , Peter Stubley

Asda has imposed a temporary £30 limit on fuel at its 320 petrol stations across the UK - echoing the move by its owners EG Group on Friday.

A spokesperson told Sky News: “To ensure as many customers as possible can refuel, we have put a temporary limit of £30 per transaction on our forecourts.

“We can reassure our customers that we have good levels of fuel supply and our sites will continue to receive deliveries over the weekend.”

EG Group operates nearly 400 stations.

To put it in context, there are more than 8,300 petrol stations across the UK in total.

Fight at petrol station as panic buying causes chaos at pumps

12:44 , Peter Stubley

A fight broke out between a group of men at petrol station as tempers flared on some UK forecourts over fuel shortage concerns.

The brawl, reportedly between two families, took place at an Esso station in Chichester, West Sussex, on Saturday.

Fight breaks out on petrol station forecourt as panic-buying frustrations boil over

Supply chain crisis ‘very reminiscent of Winter of Discontent’, says Tory MP

12:22 , Peter Stubley

A Tory MP has admitted the UK’s supply chain crisis is “very reminiscent” of the 1978/9 Winter of Discontent.

David Morris, who represents Morecambe, told BBC North West: “Well, I've got to say to you I can remember the winter of discontent and I remember what was building up to it and this to me feels very very reminiscent. I'm hoping that doesn't happen.”

However he went on to say the fuel shortages at petrol stations was “panic buying and nothing more than that” and said the driver shortages were a historic problem rather than something that emerged during a Conservative government.

London mayor urges government to relax rules for foreign workers

12:00 , Peter Stubley

Sadiq Khan has called for a “Covid recovery visa” to attract more foreign workers to the UK.

The mayor of London said: “The government’s move to tackle the critical HGV driver shortage is welcome. It’s essential that it does all it can to ensure that all sectors—from hospitality to construction to culture—are able to hire the staff they need to get back on their feet and aid the UK’s economic recovery.

“The government should introduce a “Covid Recovery Visa” to help attract international workers to key roles, as well as devolving powers for London to create a regional shortage occupation list to make it easier to bring in staff in the areas where there is greatest need.

“A flexible migration system will be crucial to ensuring London’s competitiveness and ongoing success.”

UK ‘faces national shortage of turkeys’ for Christmas

11:40 , Peter Stubley

The UK could face a “national shortage” of turkeys for Christmas because of a labour shortage, a turkey farmer has said.

Kate Martin, chairwoman of the Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association (TFTA), said supermarket shelves are likely to be hit by a shortage of skilled European employees.

Mrs Martin told the PA news agency: “This year it’s looking like there is a national shortage of turkeys when we’re talking about supermarket shelves, rather than buying direct from your farm.

“It is the supermarket shelves that will be emptier on turkeys this year than they have been before, only because there have been less turkeys placed on the ground, only because the big processers know that they will not get them processed.”

She said that some poultry farms have had five times more orders than the same time last year. “I think everyone needs to get their orders in very quickly,” she added.

“We have seen an absolutely unprecedented number of orders come in. Come Christmas, if you leave ordering your turkey from your local farm supplier, you are going to be out of luck.”

Asked whether Brexit is to blame for the labour shortage, Mrs Martin said: “This situation with turkeys is caused by the fact that European labour is no longer available to us, and they are skilled workers who have been coming to us for years.

“People are now missing a whole host of their workforce that they have been training and investing in over the last however many years, and those workers are no longer available for us to use on a seasonal basis - they will go find work on mainland Europe instead.”

Panic buying continues despite government pleas

11:21 , Peter Stubley

Petrol stations are still suffering from shortages today after two days of panic buying.

Pumps were closed at a BP station in south London and motorists reported shortages across the country.

Closed pumps at a BP garage in south London on Sunday (PA)
Closed pumps at a BP garage in south London on Sunday (PA)

Photographs from last night show a long line of cars queuing up for fuel for a Sainsbury’s garage in Ashford, Kent.

Motorists queue at a Sainsbury’s petrol station in Ashford, Kent (PA)
Motorists queue at a Sainsbury’s petrol station in Ashford, Kent (PA)

Fuel crisis ‘will resolve itself’, says Shapps

10:52 , Peter Stubley

Grant Shapps denied there was a “dramatic shortage” in HGV drivers as he claimed that 5,000 temporary visas was enough to tackle the supply chain crisis.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “The key thing about this is if you look at, for example, the distribution to petrol stations, the shortage of drivers is a much smaller number - 100 to 200 drivers.

“So we’re not taking about the 5,000 (visas) for that - that’s also for the food sector as well.

“There isn’t a dramatic shortage in drivers, in fact it has been like this for a long time.”

He said the shortage of fuel at the pumps due to panic buying would “resolve itself”.

“Fortunately, when it comes to tanks of petrol in people’s cars - unlike, for example, toilet rolls or pasta at the beginning of coronavirus - you can only store a single tank of petrol, you can’t then store it elsewhere very easily,” he said.

“So this will resolve itself, but I’m very keen to put in place this massive package of measures to make sure people are reassured.”

RHA clashes with government over fuel crisis

10:34 , Peter Stubley

The Road Haulage Association has accused the government of a “disgraceful” attempt to blame one of its directors for the fuel crisis.

The RHA said it “completely refutes” claims made in the Mail on Sunday that Rod McKenzie was the source of the leak, and claimed ministers were trying to “divert attention away from their recent handling of the driver shortage crisis.”

Here’s the full statement:

Firstly, Rod McKenzie was not in the meeting where the BP issue was discussed.

Secondly, he is not the source of the leak. The first he heard of the comments was when journalists rang him asking for comment after ITV News story had been broadcast.

He was not, as the government source claimed, “aware of the comments” and certainly did not “weaponise” them in subsequent TV interviews. Indeed he repeated stressed the need not to panic buy and that there were adequate fuel stocks.

It is also completely untrue to say that the “RHA leaks every meeting we have with them” .

The RHA believes this disgraceful attack on a member of its staff is an attempt to divert attention away from their recent handling of the driver shortage crisis.

Ministers blame former BBC boss for fuel chaos

10:21 , Peter Stubley

The government is seeking to pin the blame for panic buying on a former BBC boss who is now the managing director of policy and public affairs at the Road Haulage Association.

Ministers briefed the Daily Mail last night that Rod McKenzie was a “moaning remainer” who sparked the nationwide panic-buying frenzy by selectively leaking remarks made by a BP executive at a private government meeting.

Mr McKenzie, a former editor of BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, described the allegation as “nonsense.” He added: “I was not in the meeting. I was not briefed about the meeting afterwards. I certainly didn’t brief any journalists about the meeting about which I knew nothing. It is entirely without foundation.”

BP has also denied being responsible for the leak, saying it would be “counter-productive”.

Will European lorry drivers want to come to the UK?

10:01 , Peter Stubley

Road haulage bosses have questioned whether European HGV drivers will take up the government’s offer of 5,000 temporary visas until Christmas.

Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy and public affairs at the RHA, said: “Twelve weeks is an incredibly short period of time if you are working in Poland or somewhere else in Europe.”

“They will see an advert tomorrow if they are lucky, they’ll apply for the job, they will need to find somewhere to live in Britain, assuming they get a visa, and then they will have to hand their notice in wherever they are working now.

“You can work it out that 12 weeks suddenly becomes 10 weeks, becomes eight weeks and then becomes ‘crikey, is it worth it?’.

“We will have to see how much of a take-up there is, and 5,000, as others have said in the media, is a very small number when you are talking about 100,000 shortage.”

Marco Digioia, the head of the European Road Haulers Association, told the Observer that “much more would be needed”. He added: “There is a driver shortage across Europe. I am not sure how many would want to go to the UK.

“Tempting European drivers back to the UK when they also have to face the reality of customs and border checks, all the uncertainties of Brexit … We have to be realistic.”

HGV driver shortage a ‘cocktail of chaos’, says RHA

09:55 , Peter Stubley

The Road Haulage Association said a “cocktail of chaos” has created a shortage of 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK.

Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy and public affairs at the RHA, told the PA news agency that Britain had already been 50,000 drivers short before the pandemic and Brexit.

“Add to that 40,000 cancelled trucker training tests because of the pandemic restrictions, add to that 20,000 European truckers who had to go home because of Brexit immigration rules, so that adds up to 100,000 - that’s why we’re in the pickle we’re in,” he said.

“There is a cocktail of chaos here, it’s no one single thing. I appreciate the government is briefing that it’s all about Covid-19, but there is a historic shortage in this country.”

Shapps does not rule out bringing in Army drivers

09:49 , Peter Stubley

Grant Shapps has refused to rule out bringing in the Army to drive HGVs to tackle the supply chain crisis.

He told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “We will do whatever is required.

“The Army are going to at the moment make sure we are testing HGV drivers, that’s where the bottleneck is.”

The minister also asked the public to “do their part” in only refilling their cars when needed, calling current forecourt queues “an unnecessary situation”.

Government lack of planning to blame for ‘absolute crisis’, says Starmer

09:39 , Peter Stubley

Sir Keir Starmer has blamed Britain’s supply chain crisis on the government’s “total lack of planning” since Brexit.

He told BBC’s Andrew Marr: “We have got an absolute crisis in the country because of a lack of planning on the part of the government

“For a long time there has been a problem with HGV drivers, but we knew when we left the EU we had to have a back up plan to deal with the situation. But there was no plan.”

Grant Shapps blames ‘leak’ to media for fuel crisis

09:24 , Peter Stubley

Here’s the full quote where Grant Shapps blamed a ‘leak’ to the media for the fuel crisis - which he described as a “rather manufactured situation”.

He told Sky News: “There was a meeting which took place about 10 days ago, a private meeting in which one of the haulage associations decided to leak the details to media, and that has created, as we have seen, quite a large degree of concern as people naturally react to those things.

“The good news is there is plenty of fuel, the bad news is if everyone carries on buying it when they don’t need it then we will continue to have queues.

“Sooner or later everyone’s cars will be more or less filled up, there won’t be anywhere else to put fuel. It’s not like the toilet roll crisis at the beginning of the pandemic where people could stockpile it, therefore it will come to an end.

“We just appeal to people to be sensible, fill up when you normally would. We’ve got this big package in place today in order to help alleviate the pressure and we ask people to do their part.”

Britain’s fuel crisis a ‘manufactured situation’, says Shapps

09:01 , Peter Stubley

Transport minister Grant Shapps described the fuel crisis as a “manufactured situation” as he appealed to the public to “be sensible”.

Speaking to Trevor Phillips on Sky News, he sought to defend the government’s U-turn on foreign visas from criticism that it was “too little, too late”.

He claimed the problems at petrol stations across Britain were caused by a briefing to the media by a road haulage association earlier this week.

Mr Shapps also cast the blame on the pandemic, adding: “Coronavirus has created massive shortages of lorry drivers throughout Europe and the world and stopped us testing them.”

He said: “There is plenty of fuel, there is no shortage of fuel within the country,” he said, urging motorists to 'fill their cars as they normally would'.

Panic buying leaves motorists frustrated at fuel shortage

08:43 , Peter Stubley

Motorists are still taking to social media to express their frustration at fuel shortages following two days of panic buying.

The issue first emerged on Thursday when BP announced it was restriction supplies at up to 100 out of its 1,200 sites.

Since then several operators, including Esso, Shell and Sainsbury’s, have reported a strain on supplies due to the increased demand and EG Group has imposed a £30 fuel limit at its 400 stations.

There are more than 8,000 petrol stations across the UK in total.

‘They think it’s the end of the world’: Panic buying at the pumps

08:31 , Peter Stubley

Panic buying caused traffic gridlock and frayed tempers yesterday, with long queues of motorists at fuel stations across the country.

There were reports of fights on forecourts as some suppliers limited supplies due to the increased demand.

In Edinburgh some motorists blamed the media for the scramble, while others expressed relief at finding petrol stations that had not yet been overwhelmed.

Exasperated drivers take aim at ‘crazy’ panic buying as pumps run dry

HGV driver visa plan ‘too little, too late’

08:19 , Peter Stubley

Marc Fels, director of the HGV Recruitment Centre, has described the plans to offer temporary visas to 5,000 foreign lorry drivers as “too little” and “too late”.

He told BBC Breakfast: “Every additional driver that is coming into the sector at the moment is going to be of benefit.

“But I feel this is too little, because the numbers coming in, 5,000, is not going to make a very large dent on the 90,000-100,000 that we are perceived to be short.

“And too late because we have been understanding these problems have been coming as early as April this year, so we are moving into October and only now are the Government coming up with these solutions when this has been an issue since April.”

Emergency visas ‘insufficient’ to solve supply chain crisis, say business groups

08:14 , Peter Stubley

Last night the government confirmed that it would issue temporary visas to 5,000 foreign lorry drivers and 5,500 poultry workers in a bid to tackle Britain’s supply chain crisis.

Transport secretary said the scheme would run out on Christmas Eve and also outlined plans to increase the number of HGV tests taking place.

However business groups criticised the move as “insufficient” to prevent Christmas from being hit by disruption and compared it to “throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire”.

Emergency visas for 5,000 foreign lorry drivers will run out on Christmas Eve

08:07 , Peter Stubley

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of the UK’s supply chain crisis caused by the shortage of lorry drivers in the UK.

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