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27 Sep, 2021 16:24

‘No govt plans’ to deploy army to deliver fuel, minister says, after 90% of forecourts run dry amid panic buying

‘No govt plans’ to deploy army to deliver fuel, minister says, after 90% of forecourts run dry amid panic buying

UK Environment Secretary George Eustice has rejected reports that the government is looking at using the army to deliver fuel to petrol stations, claiming there are “no plans” to do so after forecourts run dry due to panic buying.

Speaking on Monday, the cabinet minister refuted media speculation about the army being put on standby so soldiers can be used to deliver fuel to areas that are experiencing shortages.

“We’ve no plans at the moment to bring in the army to actually do driving,” Eustice stated, adding that “we always have a Civil Contingencies section within the Army on standby – but we’re not jumping to that necessarily at the moment.”

However, he was clear that problems will continue if drivers don’t stop engaging in unnecessary “panic buying.”

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The government has repeatedly argued that “there isn’t a shortage [of fuel],” instead blaming issues on a lack of HGV drivers, meaning there are a few challenges in getting petrol to forecourts, although Eustice stated that it “is quite limited.”

Earlier on Monday, numerous UK media outlets claimed that the British government is considering deploying military personnel to resupply petrol stations, as well as moving forward with issuing temporary work visas to bring in thousands of HGV drivers.

Over the weekend, the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents around 5,500 of the UK’s 8,000 filling stations, claimed 90% of their sites were running dry, as motorists apparently sought to hoard petrol and diesel.

Also on rt.com 90% of fuel pumps run dry in major British cities after panic-buying frenzy

In a joint statement on Monday, the UK’s fuel industry addressed panic buyers, reassuring them that there is no need to rush to fill up their cars, as “there is plenty of fuel at UK refineries and terminals,” adding that “we expect demand will return to normal in the coming days.”

Despite the UK government’s outlook on the situation, the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, has warned that the panic-buying situation “is putting a strain on policing,” as motorists brawl over fuel and long queues make it difficult for officers to “get to and from their place of work.”

Similarly, the Royal College of Nursing, which represents 465,000 medical professional and students in the UK, raised concerns that “patient care will be compromised” if officials do not prioritise nursing staff, ensuring they have the fuel to travel for work.

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