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Petrol supply: Military tanker drivers put on standby to ease fuel crisis


The Army is ready to help ease fuel supply problems after a fourth day of long queues and pump closures.

Up to 150 military tanker drivers will prepare to deliver to forecourts which have run dry because of panic buying.

The surge in demand came amid fears a driver shortage would hit fuel supply – which is plentiful at refineries.

The transport secretary said there were “tentative signs” of stabilisation in petrol stations and queues would start to reflect this in the coming days.

Grant Shapps said: “Once we all return to our normal buying habits… the quicker we get back to normality.”

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) said there were “early signs” the pressure on petrol stations was starting to ease.

The UK is estimated to be short of more than 100,000 lorry drivers – causing problems for a range of industries, including food suppliers and supermarkets, in recent months.

The government has said people needlessly buying fuel has led to queues at many forecourts, with fuel running out in some places.

But there are growing calls for key workers, such as health and social care staff, to receive priority access to available fuel after some reported not being able to get to work due to the supply issues.

Daniyal Ahsan, a junior doctor in London, told the BBC he went to 17 petrol stations after work on Monday in search of fuel – but wasn’t able to get any, leaving him concerned about how this would affect his patients. He has since been able to fill up his car.

Dr Jane Townson, chief executive of UK Homecare Association, warned that some people who depend on carers for tasks like taking pain medication could die if they are left without help.

Roger Grosvenor, of the East of England Co-op petrol stations, told the BBC the group would create a daily priority hour for emergency workers if fuel supply problems had not eased by Thursday.

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