Fuel shortages are getting worse rather than improving, especially in London and the south-east of England, the chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) has warned.
Brian Madderson said it remains a “really big problem” in this part of the UK, and told the BBC’s Today programme: “In London and the South East and possibly parts of eastern England, if anything it had got worse.”
His warning came the morning after the Ministry of Defence announced it would deploy nearly 200 military tanker personnel, including 100 drivers, to deliver fuel to forecourts across the UK from Monday in what it has named “Operation Escalin.”
But while he welcome the move, Madderson said it the extent to which it would help was limited.
“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.
But the PRA, which represents almost 5500 of the UK’s 8300 petrol stations, said the situation isn’t so grave in all parts of the country. Rather, Scotland, the north of England and parts of the Midlands have experienced a “distinct improvement,” it said.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse yesterday admitted that although the govermnent thought the situation was “stabilising”, he expected demand to outweigh fuel supply for a “week or so”, after which he thought “we will see a return to normality.”