Q&A: All you need to know about fuel shortages

E10 petrol pump

Everything you need to know about the ongoing fuel shortages. - Credit: PA

With queues across the county and pumps running dry, here's everything you need to know about the ongoing fuel shortages.

What's the current situation

Pumps have run dry and forecourts have been closed off across our region after panic buying swept the county, prompted by fears of a fuel shortage.

However, the government says there is no shortage, merely issues in the supply chain which have caused a slight delay to deliveries.

What is being done about it?


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The government is expected to announce a temporary visa scheme to fix the lorry driver shortage, which has been met with both frustration and relief by industry figures and opposition politicians.

Downing Street sources said the scheme, which reports suggest will temporarily lift visa restrictions for foreign drivers, is to be a "short-term solution" to ease pressure on deliveries in the run-up to Christmas.

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The Financial Times and the Telegraph reported up to 5,000 temporary visas could be granted for HGV drivers while the FT also said a similar number would be approved for food processing workers, especially in the poultry industry.

Labour criticised the amount of time it took the government to act on the long-term issue.

Sir Keir Starmer told supporters after arriving at the Labour Party conference in Brighton that the Conservative administration was "letting people down so badly" over shortages of food and fuel.

Some filling stations are also limiting the amount of fuel people can buy.

Can I still get petrol?

BP said around 20 of its 1,200 petrol forecourts were closed due to a lack of available fuel, with between 50 and 100 sites affected by the loss of at least one grade of fuel.

A "small number" of Tesco filling stations have also been impacted, said Esso owner ExxonMobil, which runs the sites.

On Friday, the EG Group, which has around 400 petrol stations in the UK, said it was imposing a £30 limit "due to the current unprecedented customer demand for fuel".

The queueing scenes come despite No 10 and motoring bodies urging the public not to panic-buy, with police urging drivers to be "sensible" about filling up.

In Norfolk, a number of forecourts were closed on Saturday morning.

How has the fuel industry reacted?

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said there was "huge relief" at the prospect of a softening of policy on foreign workers being allowed into the UK to mitigate the issue.

Director general Tony Danker told BBC Breakfast: "Hopefully it is going to happen and it is a huge relief.

"We've been calling for it for three months.

"We could see this problem coming and more problems coming, and so it's a shame the government needed queues at the pumps to move, but move I hope they have and it will help."

What do haulage companies say?

Experts suggest the industry is short of about 90,000 drivers.

Toby Ovens, managing director of Broughton Transport Solutions, was sceptical about the government's visa plans when interviewed by BBC Radio 4, saying: "I think a lot of what we're seeing at the minute is down to essentially the driver wages.

"Margins in haulage are very tight and the reality is the money isn't there to pay the increased wages without substantial price increases to customers."

Mr Ovens said he did not believe Brexit had been a factor in the haulage sector's problems, with the improvement in living standards in eastern European countries - where lorry drivers have tended to hail from in recent years - meaning people are choosing to remain with their families rather than come to the UK for work.

How much petrol can I store at home?

Norfolk Fire and Rescue say a maximum of 30 litres of petrol is allowed to be stored at home or at a non workplace premises and asked the public to consider this when attending petrol stations.

How long will it go on for?

President of the AA Edmund King said shortages and queues were unlikely to last as there is "plenty of fuel at source".

Mr King said: "The good news is you can only really fill up once - you've got to use the fuel, so this should be a short-term thing.

"It's not like the fuel crises in the past when the supplier was hit by strikes.

"So, once people have filled up, they won't travel more than they normally travel, so this strain on the system should ease up in the next few days."

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