Boris Johnson’s government is bringing in the military to help with an acute shortage of gas.
The lack of truckers is a critical factor in the growing turmoil.
The crisis is causing fights at gas stations, traffic queues for miles, and panic buying.
The British Army is being deployed to help assist with a gas shortage crisis in the UK, the government has announced.
The shortage, now in its second week, is blamed on the lack of truckers to deliver the gas to keep the country moving, which has meant thousands of gas stations have been empty for days. The lack of truckers is linked to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union this year, cutting off access to vital foreign truck drivers.
From 4 October, 200 military tanker personnel, 100 of which are drivers, will assist with deliveries.
“While the situation is stabilizing, our Armed Forces are there to fill in any critical vacancies and help keep the country on the move by supporting the industry to deliver fuel to forecourts,” said Defence Minister Ben Wallace.
The shortages at stations have culminated in fights at gas stations, traffic queues for miles, and extreme panic buying.
“I am completely, completely fed up. Why is the country not ready for anything?” Ata Uriakhil, a 47-year-old Afghanistan-born taxi driver who was first in a line of more than 40 cars outside a closed supermarket gas station in South West London, told Reuters.
Uriakhil told Reuters that his weekly earnings had been reduced by 20%, as his time was occupied by waiting in queues for fuel rather than driving fares.
“When is it going to end?,” Uriakhil said. “The politicians are not capable of doing their jobs properly. The government should have been prepared for this crisis. It is just incompetence.”
The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) said members reported on Friday that 26% of pumps were dry, 27% had just one fuel type in stock, and 47% had enough petrol and diesel.
“Independents, which total 65% of the entire network, are not receiving enough deliveries of fuel compared with other sectors such as supermarkets,” Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retail Association, told Reuters.
The government has written to all Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) license holders – past and present – to offer them training in. an attempt to plug the labor shortage.
They have also temporarily relaxed safety restrictions for HGV drivers, meaning that they can work longer hours.
In a U-turn by Boris Johnson’s government, emergency visas have also been extended to European drivers and workers to help address the labor shortages that have led to empty shelves and gas station queues.
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