Army tanker drivers trained over the weekend to deliver fuel across the country starting Monday. The UK government said in a statement on Friday that from this week around 100 tanker drivers would be deployed “to reduce pressure at petrol stations and address HGV shortages”. [Heavy Goods Vehicle] Driver.”
The closure of the stations triggered panic buying by British motorists, with supplies running out almost as quickly as they did. The British Medical Association warned last week that health workers, including ambulance drivers, would not be able to do their jobs because pumps were running dry.
According to the Petrol Retailers Association, the situation has improved in some parts of the country but remains “challenging” in London and the country’s south east, where many filling stations are dry.
Chairman Brian Maderson said in a statement on Monday that a survey of independent UK stations showed that 86% have both grades of fuel available, while 6% have only one grade and 8% are dry. But only 62% of stations in London and the South East are fully stocked.
“We are grateful for the support extended by the government through the provision of military drivers, although further action must be taken to address the needs of the more affected areas,” Maderson said in a statement.
Post-Brexit immigration rules
The United Kingdom has had a shortage of truck drivers for years, but has been exacerbated by the recent pandemic, which delayed the issuance of new licences, and Brexit, which resulted in thousands of EU citizens losing trucking jobs and other businesses. left. Britain.
According to the Road Haulage Association, the country is short of about 100,000 truck drivers, a situation that is also affecting food delivery to supermarkets.
On Saturday, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson blamed high immigration levels before Brexit for the situation in the country.
“People don’t want to go into the road transport industry, [they] don’t want to be [truck] The drivers did it precisely because we had a massive immigration approach and reduced wages, reduced job quality,” he told reporters.
He did not rule out further easing visa restrictions, but insisted he does not want to return to “low-paid immigration”. The UK government has repeatedly stressed that a permanent solution to the crisis will be driven by employers offering better pay and conditions.
Last week, pig farmers said a shortage of butchers and drivers had created a backlog of more than 100,000 animals, which they may be forced into.
– Sharon Braithwaite, Amy Cassidy and Anna Cuban contributed reporting.