Fuel shortage ‘getting worse’ in London and south-east England

Petrol Retailers Association says situation improving in Scotland, north of England and parts of Midlands

A forecourt in Windsor. The Petrol Retailers Association said supply is a ‘really big problem’ in south-east England. Photograph: Maureen McLean/Rex/Shutterstock

Fuel shortages are getting worse in some parts of the country, in particular London and the south-east, the chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) has said. Brian Madderson warned the shortages remained a “really big problem” in these areas. In contrast the PRA, which represents nearly 5,500 of the UK’s 8,300 petrol stations, said Scotland, the north of England and parts of the Midlands had experienced a “distinct improvement”. Madderson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme of the fuel problems: “In London and the south-east and possibly parts of eastern England, if anything it had got worse.” Advertisement The government and retailers say there is enough fuel at UK refineries, but a shortage of drivers has slowed down the transport of it to some petrol stations. On Monday about 200 military personnel, including 100 drivers, will start deliveries to offer “temporary” support. Madderson added that while he welcomed this move he believed it would have a limited impact. “This isn’t going to be the major panacea,” he said. “It’s a large help but in terms of the volume, they are not going to be able to carry that much. “We do need a prioritisation of deliveries to filling stations – particularly the independent ones, which are the neighbourhood retail sites – in London and the south-east, starting immediately.” He added that when filling stations are resupplied motorists should prepare to expect higher bills at the pumps because of rising world oil prices. He said: “Expect anything from one, two or even 3p a litre increases at the pump. This is not profiteering. This is genuine wholesale price increases caused by global factors.” His comments came as the health secretary, Sajid Javid, said the fuel situation was “stabilising”. Mark Drakeford attacks Westminster ‘failure’ over fuel crisis Read moreHe told BBC Breakfast: “I think the measures that have been taken over the last couple of weeks are certainly helping, it seems the situation is stabilising, it is not completely over yet. “The most reassuring message is that there is enough fuel in this country for everyone, if everyone just goes back to normal, in terms of just filling up for what they actually need, then that will certainly help the situation.” In an announcement on Friday, the government said 300 fuel tanker drivers would be able to come to the UK from overseas “immediately” under a bespoke temporary visa that will last until March. About 4,700 other visas intended for foreign food haulage drivers will be extended beyond the initially announced three months and will last from late October to the end of February. A further 5,500 poultry workers can come from late October and stay until 31 December under the temporary visa scheme. However, opposition parties have criticised the measures and voiced calls for a parliamentary recall to address labour shortages and supply chain disruption. Keir Starmer said the temporary visa scheme would not be up and running “for weeks”. The Labour leader added that the prime minister should recall parliament from party conference recess to rush through legislation so that shelves remain stocked in the run-up to Christmas. The Scottish National party’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said Boris Johnson “must immediately recall parliament and convene cross-party talks to set out steps to effectively tackle the Brexit crisis”. He added: “The severe labour shortages, soaring costs, empty supermarket shelves, ongoing fuel crisis and trading barriers are all inflicting serious and lasting harm.”

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