Almost 200 servicemen and woman from the armed forces will start delivering petrol to garages across the UK from Monday, the government says.
Getting the armed forces involved will provide temporary support by getting deliveries out to stations and therefore reducing queues.
Ministers also announced that up to 300 overseas fuel tanker drivers will be able to work in the UK immediately until the end of March, the BBC reported.
Despite this Brian Madderson, chair of the Petrol Retailers’ Association, told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme this morning (Saturday, October 2), “In the north, Scotland, some parts of the Midlands there was a distinct improvement in fewer dry sites, however in London and the south east, if anything, it had got worse.”
This comes two days after the association executive direct Gordon Balmer said, “There are early signs that the crisis at pumps is ending, with more of our members reporting that they are now taking further deliveries of fuel.
“Fuel stocks remain normal at refineries and terminals, although deliveries have been reduced due to the shortage of HGV drivers.
“We have conducted a survey of our members this morning and only 37 per cent of forecourts have reported being out of fuel today. With regular restocks taking place, this percentage is likely to improve further over the next 24 hours.”
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said, “Retailers are working hard to minimise the current disruption to fuel and are putting in place all necessary measures to meet the current high level of demand. There is plenty of fuel for everyone and we urge consumers to be considerate of others and fill up as they normally would.”
“The current disruption is due to the UK’s shortfall of 90,000 HGV drivers. Retailers are working hard to attract and train new drivers through increased pay, bonuses and new driver training schemes, as well as directly supporting their suppliers in the movement of goods.
“However, government can alleviate the driver shortage by rapidly expanding the size and scope of the recently announced visa scheme for HGV drivers.”
When asked about the state of affairs in Sussex, a spokesperson for Morrisons said “It is a rapidly moving situation and we are working hard with our suppliers to ensure we can continue to keep our pumps open and serve our customers.”
A Sainbury’s spokesperson said, “The situation is changing all the time – sites are reopening after receiving more fuel while some are closing until they receive more.”