Police are called in to control forecourts as NHS and care staff can’t fill up


The government is putting the military on standby as part of further measures to address a supply chain crisis which has led fuel pumps to run dry amid panic-buying by motorists.

The move to mobilise the army comes after a widespread shortage of truck drivers, which has led to serious supply problems for retailers and restaurants in the past few months, has meant plentiful stocks of fuel have not reached filling stations.

A warning of fuel supply shortages at the end of last week has led to panic buying, with long lines of cars waiting for hours to fill up, and resulted in pumps in cities across Britain running dry. 

After a dizzying 24 hours of dithering over the use of soldiers to plug the HGV driver gap, ministers agreed to put the Army on standby. It is hoped that panic-buying will ease this week to reduce pressure on fuel supplies. But if the crisis does not abate, ministers will trigger ‘Operation Escalin’.

About 150 military tanker drivers were put into a state of readiness under the operation, sources said. Some of them will receive further training in the next few days to be able to deliver fuel if required.

The operation, originally conceived in case of a no-deal Brexit, could potentially see hundreds of troops brought in to help. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tonight announced that army tanker drivers were being put on standby. 

He tweeted: ‘Today we’re asking army tanker drivers to be ready to deploy. And extending licences for fuel transporters to keep on road. As joint statement by 10 fuel suppliers says, if everyone buys fuel as normal petrol stations will revert to normal service.’  

The move to mobilise the army comes after a widespread shortage of truck drivers, which has led to serious supply problems for retailers and restaurants in the past few months, has meant plentiful stocks of fuel have not reached filling stations (pictured: Army tanker in 2000 amid a previous crisis)

Police intervene at an Esso garage in Rayners Lane as traffic blocks all approaches and junctions towards the petrol station

Police intervene at an Esso garage in Rayners Lane as traffic blocks all approaches and junctions towards the petrol station

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tonight announced that army tanker drivers were being put on standby. He tweeted: 'Today we're asking army tanker drivers to be ready to deploy. And extending licences for fuel transporters to keep on road. As joint statement by 10 fuel suppliers says, if everyone buys fuel as normal petrol stations will revert to normal service.'

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tonight announced that army tanker drivers were being put on standby. He tweeted: ‘Today we’re asking army tanker drivers to be ready to deploy. And extending licences for fuel transporters to keep on road. As joint statement by 10 fuel suppliers says, if everyone buys fuel as normal petrol stations will revert to normal service.’

A police officer is pictured speaking with people at a north London petrol station amid an ongoing fuel crisis

A police officer is pictured speaking with people at a north London petrol station amid an ongoing fuel crisis

Police intervene at an Esso garage in Rayners Lane today as queues of traffic block all approaches and junctions

Police intervene at an Esso garage in Rayners Lane today as queues of traffic block all approaches and junctions

Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay chaired cross-government talks on Monday afternoon to discuss the situation as industry leaders continued to insist there is ‘plenty’ of fuel at UK refineries and terminals.

Leading suppliers, including BP, Esso and Shell, said demand for petrol should return to normal levels in ‘the coming days’. 

‘As an industry we are working closely with the Government to help ensure fuel is available to be delivered to stations across the country,’ they said in a joint statement last night. 

‘PLEASE BE MORE THOUGHTFUL TO PARAMEDICS’ 

Jennifer Ward

Jennifer Ward

A paramedic had to try five different garages before she could fill up her ambulance.

Jennifer Ward, 21, drove around desperately for an hour and a half.

She began her shift in Norfolk with a full tank – but after driving more than 250 miles needed to refuel.

‘We work a stressful job and we don’t need any added anxiety,’ she said. ‘We’ve now got to try to plan our day around where they’ll accept blue lights as a priority. It angers you when you see the photos of people panic-buying.’

Miss Ward, who works for independent emergency care provider Medicare EMS Group UK Ltd, urged drivers to be ‘more thoughtful’ and only buy the fuel they need.

The government had already announced plans to issue temporary visas for 5,000 foreign truck drivers, suspend competition laws and entice former drivers back into the industry as part of measures to deal with the labour shortage.

It said it would now put a limited number of military tanker drivers on a state of readiness to be deployed if necessary.

‘While the fuel industry expects demand will return to its normal levels in the coming days, itâs right that we take this sensible, precautionary step,’ business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said in a statement late on Monday.

‘If required, the deployment of military personnel will provide the supply chain with additional capacity as a temporary measure to help ease pressures caused by spikes in localised demand for fuel.’

The army tanker drivers will receive specialised training before deploying to help deal with supply chain issues, the government said.

The demand for fuel has meant that 50% to 90% of pumps were dry in some areas of Britain, according The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents independent fuel retailers who account for 65% of all the 8,380 UK forecourts.

The fuel industry says there is no shortage, and the issue is transporting petrol and diesel to forecourts.

‘As many cars are now holding more fuel than usual, we expect that demand will return to its normal levels in the coming days, easing pressures on fuel station forecourts. We would encourage everyone to buy fuel as they usually would,’ said a joint statement from fuel firms.

However, hauliers, gas stations and retailers say there are no quick fixes as the shortfall of truck drivers – estimated to be around 100,000 – was so acute, and because transporting fuel demands additional training and licensing.

The government said it was also extending specific HGV (heavy good vehicle) licences, which allow drivers to transport fuel, for those whose permits were due to expire in the next three months to allow them to keep working without having to take refresher courses.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps said they were already seeing an easing of demand at gas stations as the public responded to the message not to buy fuel unnecessarily.

The fuel crisis has seen up to nine in ten forecourts run dry, leaving NHS staff including doctors and nurses as well as care workers without petrol and schools planning a return to online learning because teachers can’t fill up their cars. There are growing calls for critical workers to get priority access to forecourts this week. 

Police have now been called in to control forecourts, with officers pictured at a north London Esso garage directing traffic, with all approaches to the station blocked by a huge queue of cars. 

John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said officers are having to go to petrol stations to make sure people are ‘behaving sensibly’. He said: ‘People are panic buying fuel and this is putting a strain on policing in a number of ways.

‘Police officers are having to attend petrol stations to ensure people are behaving sensibly. They also must get to and from their place of work, and this is being increasingly inhibited as they struggle to fuel vehicles.

‘The government needs to give urgent consideration as to how my colleagues and other emergency workers can get the fuel they need to travel to work and do their job.’

It came as Halfords revealed the sale of jerry cans went up 1,656 per cent over the weekend, and one driver was filmed filling water bottles with petrol. 

Gavin Rabbitt stopped at Shell garage in Cobham Services on the M25 yesterday and sat in disbelief as he watched a woman empty two 1.5litre water bottles and then fill them up with fuel – seemingly unaware the bottle could explode, or melt, because it is not a vessel to legally carry petrol. 

A woman fills empty plastic water bottles with fuel on the M25 at Cobham as panic buying continues with queues predicted for the rest of the week

A woman fills empty plastic water bottles with fuel on the M25 at Cobham as panic buying continues with queues predicted for the rest of the week

A woman fills empty plastic water bottles with fuel on the M25 at Cobham as panic buying continues with queues predicted for the rest of the week

A queue as staff at the BP direct motorists to a vacant fuel pump at the Boreham Interchange on the A12 near Chelmsford

A queue as staff at the BP direct motorists to a vacant fuel pump at the Boreham Interchange on the A12 near Chelmsford

The Morrisons supermarket petrol station at Bridport in Dorset is out of fuel amid panic buying by motorists

The Morrisons supermarket petrol station at Bridport in Dorset is out of fuel amid panic buying by motorists

Police had been called to a rural garage near Burnaston, Derbyshire, today following reports of queues of traffic in the local area. Arriving at the unmanned petrol station, officers observed long queues of cars attempting to enter the petrol station

Police had been called to a rural garage near Burnaston, Derbyshire, today following reports of queues of traffic in the local area. Arriving at the unmanned petrol station, officers observed long queues of cars attempting to enter the petrol station

Cars refueling at a BP service station in Wetherby near Leeds, after long waits for fuel again today

The half mile queue from the A14 at Cambridge Services as people scramble to buy fuel at the Shell petrol station on Monday lunchtime

The half mile queue from the A14 at Cambridge Services as people scramble to buy fuel at the Shell petrol station on Monday lunchtime

Cars queue at a Tesco garage in Frien Barnet as Downing Street urged people only to buy fuel if they really need it

Cars queue at a Tesco garage in Frien Barnet as Downing Street urged people only to buy fuel if they really need it

How can I carry fuel legally from a petrol station – and can I store it at home?

A motorist fills up her vehicle with fuel from a jerry can at a petrol station in London today

A motorist fills up her vehicle with fuel from a jerry can at a petrol station in London today

What containers can I use to store petrol?

The legislation allows you to store petrol in the following containers:

  • plastic containers storing up to 10 litres
  • metal containers storing up to 20 litres
  • demountable fuel tank up to 30 litres

Suitable portable containers are defined as being ‘robust’, ‘will not significantly degrade due to exposure to petrol’ and must be marked with the words ‘PETROL’ and ‘HIGHLY FLAMMABLE’. If it is plastic it must be made of a moulded polyethylene.

Does the petrol in the fuel tank of my car count towards the total I can store?

No – the petrol in the fuel tank of your vehicle, including boats and aircraft, does not count when you are calculating the total amount you are storing.

How much petrol can I store in a vehicle?

You can store up to 30 litres of petrol in a maximum of 2 suitable containers in your vehicle. 

How to store fuel at home?

The Health and Safety Executive says you can legally store 30 litres of petrol at your home but there are strict guidelines about how and where you should put it, because fuel is highly flammable.

It must be kept in:

a) in a shed

b) in a garage

c) Outside no more than six metres from your house – ie, at the end of a drive. 

But officials at the AA recommend people that they ‘shouldn’t even contemplate storing it at all’.

Mr Rabbitt, from Tonbridge, Kent, who filmed the woman seemingly filling up water bottles with petrol, said: ‘I thought ”I can’t believe the stupidity of this woman”. This is the kind of thing that causes the problem. People filling up things they shouldn’t be filling up and no one else can get the fuel because of other people’s stupidity. The queue was all the way down the slip road. We were queuing for about 20 to 30 minutes. She was all blasé and doing it right in front of me. It’s ludicrous.’ 

And it is proving so difficult to get fuel, thieves have been siphoning it from cars, sometimes drilling into the petrol tank, Shadrack Olaloko, from Birmingham, said: ‘What these guys did was they came and drained out all my fuel in the tank’. 

Britain’s biggest petrol retailers have said they expect the crisis to ease in the next three days because once people have a full tank, demand for fuel is likely to fall away by Thursday or Friday. And Downing Street again denied there is a shortage of fuel, saying there are ‘ample stocks in this country’.

But claims that the crisis will be over this week has been questioned by drivers. One said; ‘If there was a delivery driver shortage last week, causing some stations to run out, how will that be miraculously resolved by the middle of this week? Some garages around London were out of fuel even before panic buying kicked in’. Another wrote: ‘It’s hard to rebuild confidence again when this kind of thing starts. People will just keeping topping up their cars and never let them go below a quarter for a long time’. 

And as the Prime Minister considered emergency plans to halt the petrol panic, Environment Secretary George Eustice has said the Government has ‘no plans at the moment’ to use soldiers to drive petrol tankers amid continuing shortages at filling stations. He said: ‘We’ve no plans at the moment to bring in the Army to actually do the driving, but we always have a Civil Contingencies section within the Army on standby – but we’re not jumping to that necessarily at the moment.’

The British Medical Association (BMA) has this afternoon called for healthcare staff and essential workers to be given priority to access fuel, warning that as pumps run dry ‘there is a real risk that NHS staff won’t be able to do their jobs’.  

Drivers queued for four hours or more in lines stretching for miles and some even slept in their cars outside petrol stations.  

Electrician Roland McKibbin, 31, from Beckenham, south-east London, said he would only be able to reach one of his jobs on Monday having been unable to fill up his tank, despite visiting four petrol stations.  He said: ‘So, basically, the panic-buying idiots have lost me income, and directly taken food off the table for my wife and five-year old son, because I can’t wire people’s houses from home, unfortunately. I wasted about 15 miles of fuel looking – in the end I had to turn back as I was on fumes.’ 

As the fuel crisis continues, it also emerged today: 

  • Some care workers, NHS staff and taxi drivers are unable to fill up at petrol stations, London mayor Sadiq Khan has said; 
  • Fears have been growing over the fuel crisis sparking school closures and care home food shortages;
  • The Road Haulage Association wrote to Boris Johnson warning of ‘critical supply chains failing’ in June, but they claim their call for temporary worker visas was ‘ignored’;
  • And EU lorry drivers union says: ‘We will not go back to England to help them get out of the s**t they created themselves’;
  • Grant Shapps said he was sending SOS letters to one million HGV licence holders asking them to return to work;
  • Experts warned panic buying ‘is going to get worse before it gets better’ as UK faces a ‘catastrophic situation’;
  • In more rush hour misery for motorists, Insulate Britain today defied a court injunction to block the M25 for a sixth time this morning; 

Karenza Passmore, 55, from Langley Park in County Durham, is the director of the North East Religious Resources centre, an educational charity.

She said she was unable to drive to work on Monday, while the charity may be unable to move resources – such as books and artefacts – to schools and faith groups. ‘Yesterday I used 30 (miles) trying to find some diesel but there was no fuel,’ she said.

Fuel pumps are out of use at a deserted Shell petrol station forecourt in Warwick

Fuel pumps are out of use at a deserted Shell petrol station forecourt in Warwick

It was a similar picture at this deserted Esso petrol station forecourt in Solihull, Birmingham

It was a similar picture at this deserted Esso petrol station forecourt in Solihull, Birmingham

A sign informs motorists that there is no fuel at a petrol station near Tonbridge, Kent

A sign informs motorists that there is no fuel at a petrol station near Tonbridge, Kent

People push as a car, which has run out of petrol, the final few metres on to the forecourt as vehicles queue to refill at a Texaco fuel station in south London this morning

Long queue forms outside an ESSO petrol station near Sunbury-on-Thames due to the current problems with the supply and distribution chain for fuel

‘EU truckers will NOT help Britain out of the s**t they created themselves’: European HGV drivers’ union chief dashes hopes of ‘short-term visa’ fix 

Edwin Atema, Head of enforcement and research at the Dutch-based FNV union, hit out at UK

Edwin Atema, Head of enforcement and research at the Dutch-based FNV union, hit out at UK

Lorry drivers from the EU are refusing to come to the UK – because they believe problems plaguing the supply chain are its own fault.

The Government has approved plans to bring in 5,000 foreign HGV operators to deal with the shortage, which has been blamed on a number of factors including the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.

But promises of special visas and attractive pay have fallen on deaf ears, with one union boss declaring they ‘will not go to the UK for a short term visa to help UK out of the s**t they created themselves’.

And lorry drivers in this country are as equally disillusioned, with one who gave up the job after 30 years, likening they way they are treated ‘to being the lepers of society’ 

Edwin Atema, Head of enforcement and research at the Dutch-based FNV union, which represents drivers across the EU and Europe said the UK had an enormous battle on its hands to woo foreign drivers back.

He said: ‘Pay is an important area but not the only area. People in Europe and across Europe have completely lost trust in this industry.

‘Before the coronavirus crisis and Brexit this industry was sick already. Plagued by expectation, by irresponsible multinationals who drag down prices, which ended up with drivers voting with their feet and leaving the industry.

‘The EU workers that we speak to will not go to the UK for a short term visa to help UK out of the s**t they created themselves.’ 

 

Colin Owens, who runs Oil 4 Wales petrol stations in Wales, has said panic buying is completely unnecessary as ‘refinery tanks are full’, adding that panic buying has seen sales reach five times the levels of last week.

Boris Johnson has said he could call in the Army to deliver petrol and diesel across Britain amid a crisis that has seen competition laws suspended to allow businesses such as Shell and BP to share drivers.

But his plan to bring in 5,000 foreign lorry drivers to deal with the shortage suffered a major blow after the head of an EU truck union declaring they ‘will not go to the UK for a short term visa to help UK out of the s**t they created themselves’. Edwin Atema, who represents drivers across the EU and Europe said: ‘Before the coronavirus crisis and Brexit this industry was sick already. Plagued by expectation, by irresponsible multinationals who drag down prices, which ended up with drivers voting with their feet and leaving the industry’. 

A lack of fuel has led to a mass return to working from home today, just weeks after the Government lifted most coronavirus-related legislation to get more people into the office. TomTom traffic data revealed that congestion is down today in all major cities compared to when the chaos began last week.

And petrol stations with a fresh delivery of fuel have already been accused of of hiking fuel prices to as high as £1.57 per litre – up from the national average of £1.35 last week –  and another 10p price rise could be on the way, experts have warned, as some garages sold out of fuel in an hour this morning.

Schools have said they will return to the online classrooms used in lockdown if teachers can’t get to work – with some parents also unable to drive – while many petrol stations are now prioritising NHS workers in special two-hour slots where they must show ID to fill up. The manager of a petrol station near Heathrow Airport said staff had been forced to close the toilets to stop customers waiting there for pumps to reopen.

One school in Surrey wrote to parents over the weekend saying: ‘The current petrol crisis could potentially disrupt school next week. The ability of staff and pupils to get to school may be compromised and there may also be issues with our food deliveries.  Clearly, we have no desire to go back online so soon after the challenges of the last couple of years but we cannot exclude the possibility that it may be necessary’.

One headteacher tweeted: ‘This is actually going to be a problem. I don’t have any fuel myself and all the stations in my area are out of diesel. Most of my teachers commute further than ten miles to work’. Desperate motorists have even started following fuel delivery drivers to petrol stations, earning the nickname ‘tanker w***ers’ from critics, as panic buying continues across the UK with fights even breaking out at the pumps. 

One Twitter user said: ‘My brother in law is a lorry driver and delivers fuel. He’s on the road now and there are people following him – literally tracking his every turn – in cars. He says it’s like end of days’. He added: ‘I worried it might be really scary for him, but he just thinks they’re all kn*bs’. 

Sales of jerry cans ´17 times higher than normal´ amid fuel crisis 

The fuel crisis has led to soaring demand for jerry cans and forms of transport that do not involve joining lengthy queues, new figures show.

Halfords recorded a 17-fold rise in the number of jerry cans sold over the weekend compared with the same period a week earlier.

The containers, used by motorists to stockpile fuel, was the fourth most common search term on the retailer’s website.

But some filling stations are rationing fuel to ensure as many people as possible can fill up their vehicles.

Halfords has also seen a 23% spike in sales of bikes, with demand for electric bikes more than doubling.

With some drivers not ready to make the switch to two wheels, automotive classified ad firm AutoTrader said the number of searches for electric vehicles (EVs) across Saturday and Sunday was 60% higher than during the previous weekend.

 

Ministers will consider drafting in troops to deliver petrol and diesel later this week if panic-buying persists, sources said.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said designated petrol stations should be reserved for essential workers.

He said: ‘As the current reductions in fuel delivery affect petrol stations across the capital, it is essential that key workers are able to get fuel to travel to work and provide the services our city needs.

‘In the fuel crisis of September 2000, the government brought in rules designating specific filling stations for essential workers, enabling the capital to keep moving.

‘The Government must urgently look at taking the necessary steps putting such measures in place, so that those key workers who have to drive to work can do so.

‘We will continue to monitor developments closely and advise the Government on required actions.’

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for healthcare staff and essential workers to be given priority to access fuel, warning that as pumps run dry ‘there is a real risk that NHS staff won’t be able to do their jobs’.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of council at the BMA, said: ‘Emergency and essential workers rely on fuel both to travel to work and for their work itself – whether this is to get to hospitals, practices and other healthcare settings, or for ambulances to reach people in urgent need of care and GPs to visit very ill patients at home.

‘Everyone will have their own reasons for needing to fill up, but as pumps run dry there is a real risk that NHS staff won’t be able to do their jobs and provide vital services and care to people who urgently need it.

‘While the Government has said it is putting plans in place to alleviate the shortage of HGV drivers to transport fuel, the results of this won’t be immediate. Healthcare and essential workers must therefore be given priority access to fuel so they can continue their crucial work and guarantee care to patients.’ 

Boris Johnson, pictured with his son Wilf today, won't bring in the Army immediately as experts believe he is banking on the crisis easing by the end of the week

Boris Johnson, pictured with his son Wilf today, won’t bring in the Army immediately as experts believe he is banking on the crisis easing by the end of the week

Tesco staff directing the queues during a rain storm on Monday morning at the petrol station in Ely, Cambridgeshire,

Motorists queued for more than a mile to get to a petrol station with fuel in West Norwood, South London, yesterday

A motorist fills a container with fuel at a Sainsbury’s petrol station in Alperton, West London as it reopens on Sunday

This cancer nurse said they had to spend a huge amount of time and money to get to work after running out of fuel

This cancer nurse said they had to spend a huge amount of time and money to get to work after running out of fuel

This driver had visited three petrol stations with no fuel, as she only has 20 miles left in the tank

This driver had visited three petrol stations with no fuel, as she only has 20 miles left in the tank

Desperate drivers have even started following fuel delivery drivers to petrol stations, earning the nickname 'tanker w***ers' from critics as panic buying continues across the UK

Desperate drivers have even started following fuel delivery drivers to petrol stations, earning the nickname 'tanker w***ers' from critics as panic buying continues across the UK

Desperate drivers can’t go to work and have even started following fuel delivery drivers to petrol stations, earning the nickname ‘tanker w***ers’ from critics as panic buying continues across the UK

Keir Starmer’s call to grant visas to 100,000 foreign HGV drivers to solve fuel crisis lasts just ONE DAY as Rachel Reeves says independent migration experts should decide who comes to the UK 

Sir Keir Starmer’s call for 100,000 foreign lorry drivers to be granted visas to come to the UK lasted just one day as his own shadow chancellor torpedoed the plan.

Rachel Reeves said it should be up to independent experts to decide how to fill worker shortages.

She said the lack of HGV drivers should be ‘urgently’ referred to the Migration Advisory Committee which advises the Government on migration policy.

Sir Keir had yesterday called for 100,000 visas to be issued as he blasted the Government’s announcement of a temporary visa scheme that will see 5,000 foreign HGV drivers allowed to take up employment in the UK until Christmas Eve.

Ms Reeves said this morning that people queueing for fuel ‘couldn’t care less whether the HGV driver that has got the petrol to the forecourt is British or foreign’.

She said: ‘We have been saying for quite a while now that the Government should refer this to the Migration Advisory Committee about skill shortages but then we need to be training up more British workers to have the skills to be able to do these jobs and improve them, particularly the conditions but also the pay for these HGV drivers.’

One worker has said people panic-buying have ‘directly taken food off the table’ of his wife and son, as many struggled to commute without any fuel.

Queues stretched out from petrol stations at the weekend as panic-buying added to fuel supply issues caused by a lack of HGV drivers.

A petrol station worker said the demand for fuel has been ‘unprecedented’ at his small local garage and that shop sales have ‘tanked’ following a weekend of panic-buying.

Yasser Ahmed, 37, who runs West Drayton service station with his father, said his four-pump station had gone through 30,000 litres of fuel – the amount it would usually sell in a whole week – in just two days.

‘That’s completely not normal,’ he said.

‘Yesterday we didn’t open up, we lost a whole day yesterday, today dad is in, only because we have a lot of regular customers from the local community who are going to work and want to grab their coffee first in the morning.

‘That’s the only reason we opened up. We’re not selling anything inside, our shop sales have tanked.

‘People are saying on social media that petrol station owners are doing really well and making a lot of money – we’re not. We make our money from shop sales, and they’re gone.’

Mr Ahmed said he had placed an order immediately on Friday afternoon but was still waiting on confirmation of another fuel delivery for Wednesday.

‘We’re a family-run business, just myself and my dad, so we’re going to have to work however we can,’ he told the PA news agency.

‘It’s like in the pandemic, we just did what we needed to do to get by.

‘Everyone is panic-buying through fear that it’s going to run out and, because of that, it actually has run out.’

Electrician Roland McKibbin, 31, from Beckenham, south-east London, said he would only be able to reach one of his jobs on Monday having been unable to fill up his tank, despite visiting four petrol stations.

‘I rely on fuel to travel to jobs – no fuel means I can’t drive, which means I can’t get to jobs with my tools,’ he told the PA news agency.

‘So, basically, the panic-buying idiots have lost me income, and directly taken food off the table for my wife and five-year old son, because I can’t wire people’s houses from home, unfortunately.

Yorkshireman sleeps outside Manchester petrol station after running out of fuel 

A stranded driver has revealed how he slept in his campervan outside a petrol station after he was unable to find anywhere to fill up.

Tom McCann spent last night camped outside the Tesco filling station on Featherstall Road North in Oldham, Greater Manchester.

The 30-year-old was travelling from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, to Wales for a week-long campervan holiday with his Miniature Schnauzer, Arnie, but couldn’t find anywhere to refuel on Sunday.

Speaking this morning , Mr McCann said: ‘I thought somewhere along the way I’d manage to find some fuel.

‘But I must have tried 12 different petrol stations and couldn’t find any fuel anywhere.

‘So in the end I had to make the decision to stop overnight in Oldham because I’d saved enough to get to this fuel station this morning.

‘I came about 5.30am and I’ve just had to wait for the delivery. I’m just waiting for them to fill up the diesel then I’ll be on my way.

‘The tanker’s here now – the driver was really nice he came over and told me he’s got take his break by law.

‘He’ll help me get on my way but I just appreciate him letting me know and for letting the fuel station for letting me wait it out.

‘I mean I had no choice really I don’t have enough fuel to get to another station anyway!’

‘I wasted about 15 miles of fuel looking – in the end I had to turn back as I was on fumes.’

Mr McKibbin said being unable to travel would cost him ‘at least £200 for the day’ while he will have to cancel jobs on Tuesday if he cannot fill up before then.

‘We’ve been left at the short end of the stick along with ambulance staff etc,’ he said.

The Environment Secretary George Eustice said there were ‘no plans at the moment’ to use the Army to drive petrol tankers amid continuing shortages at filling stations, after Boris Johnson was thought to be considering sending in troops.

Karenza Passmore, 55, from Langley Park in County Durham, is the director of the North East Religious Resources centre, an educational charity.

She said she was unable to drive to work on Monday, while the charity may be unable to move resources – such as books and artefacts – to schools and faith groups.

‘Yesterday I used 30 (miles) trying to find some diesel but there was no fuel,’ she told PA.

‘The nearest garage to me is four miles so it’s a risk now, (chancing) my arm to see if the fuel stations have any in.

‘Today I was due to see a colleague in the office – (I’m) going to have to cancel and do it online, hoping things settle and I can fill up soon.

‘I don’t want to add to the hype – I am sure that things will settle as they did with loo rolls and food on shelves – but the lack of planning and infrastructure for a clearly foreseeable problem is so disappointing.’

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced on Sunday he was temporarily suspending competition laws to allow the industry to share information so it can target areas where fuel supply is running low.

The move came after the Prime Minister Mr Johnson said the Government was creating 5,000 three-month visas for foreign lorry drivers in an attempt to ease the pressure on hauliers which has been blamed over the problems.

A statement by Shell, ExxonMobile and other industry bodies again insisted there was no ‘national shortage of fuel’ and that the pressures on supply were the result of ‘temporary spikes in customer demand’.

Alireza Ghazal, 19, a student from Hayes in west London, said: ‘I have been on the search for fuel for three days now and it’s all been in vain.

‘I was really excited to go back into university and start my social life up again and attend lectures after a year of staying at home.

‘I have probably lost more fuel looking for fuel. This is a disgrace that a first world country is running into shortages like this.

‘I have had to ration my petrol to last as long as it can, but to be honest it’s most likely going to end before the end of today.’

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has agreed to implement a measure to temporarily exempt the oil industry from the Competition Act 1998, as part of a plan called the Downstream Oil Protocol, for the purpose of sharing information and optimising supply.

Officials said the measure will make it easier for industry to share information so that they can prioritise the delivery of fuel to the parts of the country and strategic locations that are most in need.   

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents 5,500 independent stations, told LBC some petrol brands are seeing between 50% and 90% of their sites running dry. 

He said: ‘We did a straw poll yesterday morning of a number of our members who have around 200 sites between them.

Angry drivers warn they’ll be ‘priced off the road’ as they accuse petrol stations of hiking fuel prices to as high as £1.54 a litre – amid warnings £1.35 UK average could rise by 10p in a week 

Motorists today accused some petrol stations in Britain of taking advantage of their desperation to fill up their cars by putting up prices as panic buying continued.

Some drivers including children’s TV star Paul Chuckle even claimed that the cost was different to that displayed outside or went up while they were waiting in queues.

Fuel experts said they expect pump prices will rise 3 to 10p per litre over the next few weeks – with the biggest hikes in recent days happening in rural areas.

Dozens of cars snaked back in lines from petrol stations across the country over the weekend, swallowing up supplies and forcing many petrol stations to simply close.

Drivers also claimed diesel prices had gone up by as much as 8p in a few days, while others said some petrol stations were turning off their digital price display boards.

The latest data for average UK fuel prices from Experian Catalist was 136.69p for petrol last Friday, up from the latest official Government figure of 134.86p last week.

Conservative MP Robert Halfon told MailOnline today: ‘The chaos at the pumps in recent days has resulted in huge hikes in petrol prices. Motorists are now seeing extremely high prices when they fill up at a time of great financial uncertainty.

‘It’s the hardworking motorists and their families, like those in my own constituency of Harlow, that depend on their vehicles to earn a living, who are being hit the hardest.’

‘Fifty per cent of those we spoke to said their sites were dry and some actually said 90 per cent of their sites were dry, so it is on a company-by-company basis and almost on a brand-by-brand basis because some oil companies are still relatively okay in terms of deliveries.’

When asked about possible Government plans to grant temporary visas to get more HGV drivers, Mr Balmer said: ‘We are a fuel retailing trade association, not a logistics company, but I would have thought anything like that is going to help, but from what I hear maybe that’s not enough, so I know the Government are looking at other measures such as drafting in military drivers.

‘What we’re hoping is a lot of people have filled up over the weekend, a lot of people only fill up once a month, that might give us some respite to start to replenish stocks over the next few days.’

A suspension to competition law to assist with fuel supplies would be ‘very welcome’, Brian Madderson of the Petrol Retailers Association has said.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Madderson said that in Northern Ireland ‘there does not seem to be a problem at all with supply and retail outlets, so the problem is confined to the mainland’.

He said: ‘With the problem of dry sites, we’re really talking more about the concentrated urban areas than we are the rural areas at this stage’.

He said dry sites ‘are being restocked at the present time but the number of tankers that they’re receiving are below the number that they need to be properly restocked at their normal level of between 40% and 50%’.

A suspension in competition law, he said, ‘possibly allows the suppliers to put fuel into their competitors’ sites … and if so, the increased flexibility that that would give the supplying industry would be very welcome’.

He added: ‘It will be complicated.’ Asked if the move is a game-changer, he said: ‘No, it’s just one of the helps.’

Kevin Hughes, manager at Chaddesley fuel station in Kidderminster, told BBC Breakfast this morning that he had seen queues of at a least a quarter of a mile last week.

He said: ‘It all got very, very silly on Friday. We’ve had a very, very tough time over the past 18 months, but not seen anything like this at all.

‘Massive queues – there is no reason to panic buy. We have got plenty of fuel. Most of the customers have been very, very good, but trying to martial them and keep the road open has been interesting.

‘Nobody’s putting in £5 worth. It’s just a case of trying to get people parked up properly, moving along and organised and get them through as quickly as we can. The team in the shop have been absolutely flat out getting people through and that’s all we can do.

He added that the fuel station was prioritising NHS workers, saying: ‘We have done. Last Saturday evening we had an hour and a half when we stayed open extra and the uptake on that was absolutely brilliant.

‘The comments we’ve had on the Facebook page have been wonderful. Depending on how the situation goes, we’re going to assess if we need to do it. So we don’t know what’s going to happen today – it’s going to be interesting.’ 

The Tube was quiet on a wet and windy Monday morning as many people stayed at home

The Tube was quiet on a wet and windy Monday morning as many people stayed at home

A fuel tanker arrives at a Shell garage in Manchester, amid reports drivers are following the trucks to get ahead of the queues

A fuel tanker arrives at a Shell garage in Manchester, amid reports drivers are following the trucks to get ahead of the queues

Cars and vans were weaving in and out of traffic to try to get into this Shell garage in Brentwood

Cars and vans were weaving in and out of traffic to try to get into this Shell garage in Brentwood

Vehicles including a fire engine queue at a petrol station at Asda in Manchester

Vehicles including a fire engine queue at a petrol station at Asda in Manchester

Motorists queue for the fourth day of the fuel crisis at Sainsbury's petrol station in north London, amid fears of fuel running out due to a shortage of HGV drivers

Motorists queue for the fourth day of the fuel crisis at Sainsbury’s petrol station in north London, amid fears of fuel running out due to a shortage of HGV drivers

Closed pumps are seen on the forecourt of a petrol station which has run out of fuel after an outbreak of panic buying in the UK, in Manchester

Closed pumps are seen on the forecourt of a petrol station which has run out of fuel after an outbreak of panic buying in the UK, in Manchester

Commuters waiting for over an hour get fuel and block the high street in Ascot Berkshire as the fuel crisis continues

Commuters waiting for over an hour get fuel and block the high street in Ascot Berkshire as the fuel crisis continues

Congestion in London, Manchester and Birmingham were all down on last week's rush hour as fuel became scarce

Congestion in London, Manchester and Birmingham were all down on last week’s rush hour as fuel became scarce

Long queues before dawn at petrol stations were common across the UK today as the fuel crisis continues

Long queues before dawn at petrol stations were common across the UK today as the fuel crisis continues

Vehicles queue to refill at a Texaco fuel station in south London on September 26 as ministers are set to consider mobilising the Army

Vehicles queue to refill at a Texaco fuel station in south London on September 26 as ministers are set to consider mobilising the Army 

Ministers will consider drafting in troops to deliver petrol and diesel later this week if panic-buying persists, sources said, after Government officials gave the green light for plans to bring in 5,000 foreign lorry drivers to deal with the shortage (pictured: Queues at Texaco in south London)

Ministers will consider drafting in troops to deliver petrol and diesel later this week if panic-buying persists, sources said, after Government officials gave the green light for plans to bring in 5,000 foreign lorry drivers to deal with the shortage (pictured: Queues at Texaco in south London) 

One driver finally managed to get fuel at the third attempt today as experts said between 50% and 90% of independent forecourts are now empty

One driver finally managed to get fuel at the third attempt today as experts said between 50% and 90% of independent forecourts are now empty

Boris Johnson could call in the Army to deliver fuel to petrol stations across Britain amid a crisis that has seen competition laws suspended and nine in ten forecourts run dry

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has agreed to implement a measure to temporarily exempt the oil industry from the Competition Act 1998 for the purpose of sharing information and optimising supply

Boris Johnson could call in the Army to deliver fuel to petrol stations across Britain amid a crisis that has seen competition laws suspended and nine in ten forecourts run dry. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has agreed to implement a measure to temporarily exempt the oil industry from the Competition Act 1998 for the purpose of sharing information and optimising supply

Shocking footage from last week shows panic buyers punch and kick at each other during a violent brawl at an Esso petrol forecourt in Sidlesham, Chicester

Shocking footage from last week shows panic buyers punch and kick at each other during a violent brawl at an Esso petrol forecourt in Sidlesham, Chicester

Ambulance driver is verbally abused on petrol station forecourt for ‘letting her vehicle run out of fuel’ – after trying for TWO DAYS to fill it up 

Becky Hough was driving around for two days as she neared an empty tank but found queues on forecourts and petrol stations already sold out

Becky Hough was driving around for two days as she neared an empty tank but found queues on forecourts and petrol stations already sold out

An ambulance driver has told how she was verbally abused on a petrol station forecourt after she was unable to fill up the emergency vehicle for two days.

Becky Hough, 24, slammed panic buyers as she was left driving around all weekend in a desperate hunt for fuel, but only found empty pumps.

The 24-year-old apprentice emergency care assistant – who works with paramedics – tweeted about her ordeal.

She was hit with a barrage of criticism saying her ambulance has a big fuel tank and she shouldn’t have got so low.

Others said emergency services shouldn’t be using normal petrol stations and should have their own pumps.

Becky works for Bristol Ambulance Emergency Medical Services – which provides independent ambulances to private patients, private health care providers and NHS.

Ms Hough, of Basingstoke, Hampshire – whose tweet got over 75,000 likes and retweets – said: ‘To everyone that panicked and went to fuel their cars when it wasn’t needed, well done.

‘On shift on an emergency ambulance, low on fuel and struggling to find somewhere that isn’t sold out.’ 

 

Ministers are understood to be looking at what additional training military drivers with existing HGV licences would need to take to drive fuel tankers, which require additional safety qualifications. 

Mr Johnson is set to gather senior cabinet members on Monday to scrutinise ‘Operation Escalin’ after oil giant BP said that a third of its petrol stations had run out of the main two grades of fuel, the Guardian reports.

It will come following a weekend of chaos that saw an ambulance hit a car in a petrol queue and ministers suspending competition laws in a bid to beat back the crisis. 

Now ‘CLAP FOR PETROL’! Social media users joke that Britons should applaud fuel station workers at 8pm on their doorsteps as country faces latest crisis 

Social media users have joked that Britons should carry out a ‘clap for petrol’ this week by applauding fuel station workers at 8pm on their doorsteps.

One described the staff working amid the chaos as ‘modern day Tommies’ while others suggested singing ‘God Save the Queen’ while clapping every Thursday.

It follows the weekly ‘Clap for Carers’ which quickly became a national pastime each Thursday at 8pm for ten weeks during the first coronavirus lockdown last year.

Millions of people across the UK lined their thresholds, gathered on pavements and stood in their gardens to show their support for care staff and frontline workers.

Some set off fireworks, honked their car horns and used kitchen utensils, with members of the Royal Family and Prime Minister Boris Johnson also joining in.  

And footage filmed in Bromley, Greater London, showed an ambulance being driven by paramedics bumping into the back of the car as paramedics tried to manoeuvre past a queue for a Shell petrol station which had spilled onto the road.  

The paramedics had to stop to exchange details with the driver of the damaged car and a different ambulance had to attend the emergency.   

Police also jumped ahead of queues of traffic at a Hackney petrol station to avoid running out of fuel. Officers said: ‘We had to jump the queue, our cars are empty and we can’t get to the depot in Romford to refill.’ 

A joint statement from energy and logistics companies including Shell, ExxonMobil and Wincanton said: ‘We are in regular contact with ministers and policy officials and it was reassuring to meet with the Business Secretary again on Sunday evening and discuss further action.’ It also reassured drivers there is ‘not a national shortage of fuel’. 

Kevin Hughes, manager at Chaddesley fuel station in Kidderminster, told BBC Breakfast this morning that he had seen queues of at a least a quarter of a mile last week.

He said: ‘It all got very, very silly on Friday. We’ve had a very, very tough time over the past 18 months, but not seen anything like this at all. Massive queues – there is no reason to panic buy. We have got plenty of fuel. Most of the customers have been very, very good, but trying to martial them and keep the road open has been interesting.

‘Nobody’s putting in £5 worth. It’s just a case of trying to get people parked up properly, moving along and organised and get them through as quickly as we can. The team in the shop have been absolutely flat out getting people through and that’s all we can do.

He added that the fuel station was prioritising NHS workers, saying: ‘We have done. Last Saturday evening we had an hour and a half when we stayed open extra and the uptake on that was absolutely brilliant. The comments we’ve had on the Facebook page have been wonderful. Depending on how the situation goes, we’re going to assess if we need to do it. So we don’t know what’s going to happen today – it’s going to be interesting.’

Government officials have given the green light for plans to bring in 5,000 foreign lorry drivers to deal with the shortage – with the UK said to be 100,000 HGV drivers short, according to the Road Haulage Association.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps took aim at the group, accusing them of sparking the panic buying crisis.

But he also warned that the lorry driver shortage could go on ‘for years’, despite the Government doubling the number of tests that can be carried out in a bid to quickly boost driver numbers.    

Oil giant BP also said that nearly a third of their petrol stations in Britain have run out of fuel despite continued pleas for motorists to ‘continue as normal’. 

BP, which operates 1,200 sites in Britain, said in a statement: ‘With the intense demand seen over the past two days, we estimate that around 30 per cent of sites in this network do not currently have either of the main grades of fuel.’

Mr Kwarteng said: ‘We have long-standing contingency plans in place to work with industry so that fuel supplies can be maintained and deliveries can still be made in the event of a serious disruption. While there has always been and continues to be plenty of fuel at refineries and terminals, we are aware that there have been some issues with supply chains.

‘This is why we will enact the Downstream Oil Protocol to ensure industry can share vital information and work together more effectively to ensure disruption is minimised. We thank HGV drivers and all forecourt staff for their tireless work during this period.’  

 

An ambulance with its siren blaring was held up by huge queues of traffic rushing to buy petrol amid mass panic at the pumps due to Britain's fuel crisis

An ambulance with its siren blaring was held up by huge queues of traffic rushing to buy petrol amid mass panic at the pumps due to Britain's fuel crisis

An ambulance with its siren blaring was held up by huge queues of traffic rushing to buy petrol amid mass panic at the pumps due to Britain’s fuel crisis

Officers said: 'We had to jump the queue, our cars are empty and we can't get to the depot in Romford to refill'

Officers said: ‘We had to jump the queue, our cars are empty and we can’t get to the depot in Romford to refill’

More petrol stations are being forced to close after running out of fuel as Britons continue to panic buy amid fears of a shortage

More petrol stations are being forced to close after running out of fuel as Britons continue to panic buy amid fears of a shortage

With petrol in short supply across the North East, a long queue of vehicles wait to fill up at an Esso fuel station in Byker, Newcastle on Sunday afternoon

With petrol in short supply across the North East, a long queue of vehicles wait to fill up at an Esso fuel station in Byker, Newcastle on Sunday afternoon

Fuel tankers have arrived in Essex after pumps ran dry yesterday with many fuel stations completely running out of fuel

Fuel tankers have arrived in Essex after pumps ran dry yesterday with many fuel stations completely running out of fuel

Motorists fill up their vehicles with fuel at a Sainsbury's supermarket petrol station in North West London

Motorists fill up their vehicles with fuel at a Sainsbury’s supermarket petrol station in North West London

A 'no diesel' sign has been placed outside a Sainsbury's supermarket petrol station in North West London

A ‘no diesel’ sign has been placed outside a Sainsbury’s supermarket petrol station in North West London

Motorists queue up for fuel at a Sainsbury's supermarket petrol station in North West London, on September 26

Motorists queue up for fuel at a Sainsbury’s supermarket petrol station in North West London, on September 26

Britain’s second biggest oil refinery faces collapse as fuel crisis cripples nation: Stanlow plant chiefs hold crisis talks with HMRC over £223m VAT bill 

Britain’s second biggest oil refinery is in crisis talks with tax officials amid fears it could be on the brink of collapse.

Bosses behind Stanlow Oil Refinery, in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, are in urgent talks with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over a £223million VAT payment.

The refinery, which has been under financial strain during the Covid pandemic, needs to start repaying the bill this week unless it can agree a new deal, according to the Sunday Times. 

Owned by the billionaire Ruia brothers, Shashi and Ravi, through their company Essar Oil UK, the refinery supplies about a sixth of Britain’s road fuel. It is also supplies jet fuel for Manchester and Birmingham airports.

Around 900 people are employed directly at the refinery and around 800 contractors also work on site.

The refinery’s VAT bill built up during the pandemic under the Government’s Covid VAT deferral scheme. 

The scheme, launched in March last year, allowed firms to defer VAT payments to help businesses stay afloat during the first Covid lockdown.

But businesses were ordered to either pay back the money by March 2021, join an interest free instalment scheme stretching to June, or make arrangements with HMRC to push back the payments.

Essar Oil UK is said to have taken advantage of the scheme, to the tune of £356million. 

It entered into a time-to-pay (‘TTP’) arrangement with HMRC for a total of £770million in April 2021. 

The company says it has paid back £547million leaving a balance of £223 million – which must be paid by January next year. 

Payments are due to begin this week. They are due to coincide with an end to the Government’s suspension on winding-up petitions. 

However the company says the economic recovery has been ‘slower than predicted’ and it will therefore not make the payment and that it was in talks to ‘modify that schedule’.

‘Therefore EOUK in discussions with HMRC over a short extension to make those deferred VAT payments,’ a spokesman told MailOnline.

‘Those discussions are positive and EOUK looks forward to a resolution soon,’ the spokesman added.

A fight also broke out between moped drivers at a petrol station in north London and was captured and shared online as motorists queued to fill up. 

The footage, shared on Twitter, showed one driver running and jump-kicking another at a BP garage in Haverstock Hill, near Camden as motorists pack out petrol stations across the country. 

The two men were already seemingly being separated before the physical fight began, with one trying to use his crash helmet to attack the other. 

It comes after a four-man fight broke out at an Esso garage in Chichester, West Sussex yesterday. 

More petrol stations are being forced to close after running out of fuel as Britons continue to panic buy amid fears of a shortage.  

One motorist said: ‘I have been driving around Croydon, Bromley, Westerham, Oxted and Godstone for two hours and passed over twenty garages.

‘Eighteen were completely shut and two had queues so long, you couldn’t even join them.’ 

London Ambulance Service told MailOnline: ‘We can confirm that one of our ambulances was involved in a collision with another vehicle on Bromley Hill at approximately 6.55pm on 25 September while on a blue light call to a patient.

‘As a result of the incident, the ambulance was out of service for a short amount of time and a different ambulance crew attended the patient.’

It comes as Mr Shapps claimed the fuel crisis has been ‘manufactured’ as he accused haulage firms of sparking panic buying after they warned of HGV driver shortages. 

The Transport Secretary said ‘there is plenty of fuel’ to go around as he urged motorists to be ‘sensible’ and to ‘fill up when you normally would’. 

He said the rush to forecourts which has seen lengthy queues at stations across the country ‘will come to an end’ because soon ‘everyone’s cars will be more or less filled up’. 

Mr Shapps said the chaos is a ‘manufactured situation’ in comments likely to spark fury among retailers and transport bosses.

But he said that it would take a ‘considerable amount of time’ to fix the issue, which he said had been going on for five years and was also a problem in EU countries such as Poland. 

Speaking on Times Radio’s T&G show, Mr Shapps said: ‘It is certainly going to take a considerable amount of time to alleviate this long term shortage of drivers which has gone on for five years.

‘If you talk to the boss of Logistics UK, he came into the job five years ago and the first problem on his desk was a shortage of drivers. It’s never changed. So that’s going to take time to unwind.’

Turkey farmers see 250% surge in orders as families scramble to save Christmas dinner

Turkey farmers are reporting a surge in orders as families scramble to save Christmas dinner amid fears of a poultry shortage. 

There have been unprecedented numbers of orders for turkey, with most high-end farms reporting soaring demand compared to this time last year.

This panic buying surge has seen some farms receive more than five times the number of orders as in 2020. Several farms are reporting 250 per cent surges compared to figures from this time last year. 

Meanwhile the boss of the UK’s Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association (TFTA) blamed Brexit for Britain’s supply chain crisis. 

The recent closure of fertiliser factories, due to a spike in natural gas prices, has also led to disruption in food production.

The closure of the plants, one of which has since reopened as part of a Government deal, has led to a decrease in food-grade carbon dioxide – used to stun animals for slaughter, as well as in packing meat, dairy and salads. 

Fears over a possible shortage has now led to a surge in ordering good quality turkeys to prepare for Christmas, according to the Traditional FarmFresh Turkey Association (TFTA) which represents the high-end turkey market.

To cater for the increase in demand in turkeys, many farmers have had to start taking orders earlier than usual with one Cornish farm having customers push to order as early as August.

Supermarket Tesco has already warned that a shortage of delivery drivers, which is causing empty shelves, could lead to panic buying across Britain in the lead up to Christmas.

Asked whether it would be months or years before the crisis was resolved, Mr Shapps said: ‘It will take months to years to fully unwind. But the short term issue can actually resolve itself immediately, because we don’t actually have a shortage (of fuel)…

‘I can’t give you an exact day and hour because it does depend on millions of people’s behaviour when it comes to the petrol pumps as well.’ 

It came as experts warned panic buying ‘is going to get worse before it gets better’ as the nation faces a ‘catastrophic situation’. 

There is an estimated shortfall of 90,000 HGV drivers in the UK freight sector. 

The Government has announced plans to offer 5,000 three-month visas to foreign lorry drivers in a short term bid to ease pressure on supply chains. 

The announcement came after scenes of lengthy queues at petrol stations as the shortage of fuel tanker drivers forced some retailers to shut their pumps and ration sales. 

The British Retail Consortium and the British Chambers of Commerce criticised the scope of the measures set out by the Government which were seen by some as a step back from Boris Johnson’s stated ambition to create a high-wage, high-skilled post-Brexit economy.

It also came as turkey farmers reported a surge in orders as families scramble to save Christmas dinner amid fears of a poultry shortage. 

There have been unprecedented numbers of orders for turkey, with most high-end farms reporting soaring demand compared to this time last year.

This panic buying surge has seen some farms receive more than five times the number of orders as in 2020. Several farms are reporting 250 per cent surges compared to figures from this time last year. 

Meanwhile the boss of the UK’s Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association (TFTA) blamed Brexit for Britain’s supply chain crisis. 

The recent closure of fertiliser factories, due to a spike in natural gas prices, has also led to disruption in food production.

The closure of the plants, one of which has since reopened as part of a Government deal, has led to a decrease in food-grade carbon dioxide – used to stun animals for slaughter, as well as in packing meat, dairy and salads. 

Fears over a possible shortage has now led to a surge in ordering good quality turkeys to prepare for Christmas, according to the Traditional FarmFresh Turkey Association (TFTA) which represents the high-end turkey market.

Supply issue threatens Christmas: The classic Christmas dinner could be decimated, with turkey, pigs in blankets, potatoes and brussel sprouts all at risk by ongoing supply and distributions issues, as well as a potential CO2 crisis. Meanwhile, toys, vinyl and books could also experience shortages - with experts even warning of Christmas trees not being available

Supply issue threatens Christmas: The classic Christmas dinner could be decimated, with turkey, pigs in blankets, potatoes and brussel sprouts all at risk by ongoing supply and distributions issues, as well as a potential CO2 crisis. Meanwhile, toys, vinyl and books could also experience shortages – with experts even warning of Christmas trees not being available

Fuel campaigner’s home besieged by drivers after pranksters turned it into Shell garage on GoogleMaps 

A fuel campaigner’s home has been besieged by drivers – after pranksters turned it into a Shell garage on GoogleMaps.

Howard Cox, the public face of a campaign calling for fairer fuel prices, received more than 70 calls from motorists on the hunt for fuel.

The jokers registered his home address in Kent on Google and marked it up as a Shell garage – complete with picture of a forecourt and review.

Mr Cox, who fronts FairFuel UK, said: ‘I got home the night before last and this bloke asked if I had any petrol there.

‘I was like ‘what?’. It sounds funny but when you get 70 calls it makes you annoyed.

‘I’ve done lots of media appearances recently about the petrol crisis so my name is out there and some idiot has gone out there thinking it’s funny.

‘It’s not funny at all. You just don’t do that sort of thing.

‘It’s probably a militant environmentalist or militant cyclist – it’s those sorts of people who do this sort of thing.’

FairFuel UK has long campaigned for fairer prices for UK motorists at the pump and it is not the first time Mr Cox has been targeted for his activism.

He explained: ‘I’ve had faeces through the door, wrapped up in a cycle glove, and things like that.

‘I’ve been subject to a lot of this, and all I’m trying to do is help UK drivers get a better deal.’

Mr Cox, meanwhile, does not believe government plans to offer thousands of visas to overseas lorry drivers will ‘even touch the sides’ and does not think think the problem will be short lived

He explained: ‘The scaremongering by Grant Shapps saying don’t panic is obviously going to create panic.

‘We know that from the toilet roll problems during Covid.

‘I think it will still be pretty bad for a couple of days but in three or four days everything will be back to normal.

‘Petrol and diesel are in full supply – it’s just the driver shortage.’

To cater for the increase in demand in turkeys, many farmers have had to start taking orders earlier than usual with one Cornish farm having customers push to order as early as August.

Supermarket Tesco has already warned that a shortage of delivery drivers, which is causing empty shelves, could lead to panic buying across Britain in the lead up to Christmas.

Kate Martin, a Cornish turkey farmer and chair of the Traditional FarmFresh Turkey Association (TFTA) said: ‘Last year we saw record demand, particularly for smaller turkeys, due to an increase in smaller gatherings and a desire to make Christmas lunch extra special, despite the restrictions.

‘This year, many of our members have increased their flocks significantly to help meet growing demand for quality turkeys.

‘While there will be more Golden Standard turkeys available this year, the orders we are currently seeing surpass anything we have ever seen before.’

It comes as Derbyshire-based EVCL Chill Ltd called in administrators, with around 400 jobs said to be at risk.

Administrators PwC said acute driver shortages had added to the company’s challenges.

EVCL Chill, which is based in Alfreston, has sites across the UK including Daventry, Rochdale, Crick and Penrith.

It employed more than 1,000 staff in warehousing and HGV driving roles. Around 650 employees had been transferred ‘to key customers’, administrators said.

Around 400 staff are said to be ‘at risk’ and will be addressed about the company’s future on Monday, saw PwC.

The company turned over £167million in the period up to December 2020.

But administrators say the firm had lost key customers in recent years. The company’s issues had been compounded by the UK’s HGV driver shortage, according to PwC.

Meanwhile, community nursing and care workers are also being impacted by the crisis, according to union chiefs.

They say members have warned that staff may struggle to get into work or to their clients on Monday due to being unable to fuel their vehicles.

Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, took aim at the Government over its handling. 

He told MailOnline:’There is no plan in Number 10, only panic – and it’s piling pressure on workers and services at every level.

‘The run on the forecourts is unnecessarily affecting frontline workers in our ambulance and home care services and the rising cost of energy will cause distress for the lowest paid households trying to make ends meet.

‘We need to ensure emergency and community services are properly resourced as a priority and that employers allow more flexibility on working from home to reduce the strain on this avoidable crisis.’ 

Grant Shapps claimed the fuel crisis has been 'manufactured' as he accused haulage firms of sparking panic buying after they warned of HGV driver shortages

Grant Shapps claimed the fuel crisis has been ‘manufactured’ as he accused haulage firms of sparking panic buying after they warned of HGV driver shortages

A major shortage of HGV drivers threatens to wreak havoc this winter, and the shortage has been exacerbated by a huge backlog in HGV tests due to Covid

A major shortage of HGV drivers threatens to wreak havoc this winter, and the shortage has been exacerbated by a huge backlog in HGV tests due to Covid

Panic at the pumps! How truckers ground Britain to a halt in September 2000 by blockading refineries in fuel duty stand-off with Tony Blair… sparking petrol queues, closure of schools and empty shelves

The escalating fuel and energy crisis which is now gripping Britain is already leading to panic buying at pumps and the prospect of fuel rationing.

The current crisis is caused in part by an HGV driver shortage, rather than a lack of fuel itself.

But, for just over a week in September 2000, a committed group of truckers and farmers angry at rising fuel prices brought Britain to its knees.

By blockading refineries, they caused petrol stations to run dry, leading to empty shelves in supermarkets, delays to mail deliveries, schools being shut and the army being put on standby.

The situation was made worse by panic buying, which led to a week’s worth of fuel being sold in three days. Truckers also led ‘go-slow’ protests on the roads which led to huge queues of traffic, including in Central London.

The then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s popularity plummeted as he took a tough line by refusing to cut fuel duty, which he had hiked less than two years earlier.

Then, after soldiers were ordered to prepare to drive 80 tankers through blockades and the NHS was put on an emergency footing, the protests came to an end and supplies slowly returned to normal.

Despite the protesters’ apparent climbdown, their main aim was achieved less than a month later, when Chancellor Gordon Brown announced in that year’s budget that fuel duty would be frozen and vehicle excise duty effectively cut.

For just over a week in September 2000, a committed group of truckers and farmers angry at rising fuel prices brought Britain to its knees. Above: Protesters at Shell's oil refinery in Stanlow, Cheshire look on as tankers snake their way from the refinery during the protests

For just over a week in September 2000, a committed group of truckers and farmers angry at rising fuel prices brought Britain to its knees. Above: Protesters at Shell’s oil refinery in Stanlow, Cheshire look on as tankers snake their way from the refinery during the protests

By blockading refineries, they caused petrol stations to run dry, leading to empty shelves in supermarkets, delays to mail deliveries, schools being shut and the army being put on standby. Above: Queues at a petrol station in Grangemouth, Scotland, during the crisis

By blockading refineries, they caused petrol stations to run dry, leading to empty shelves in supermarkets, delays to mail deliveries, schools being shut and the army being put on standby. Above: Queues at a petrol station in Grangemouth, Scotland, during the crisis

The crisis was precipitated by the price of crude oil rising in early September 2000 to £23 a barrel.

Even though Britain’s prices at the pumps were already the highest in Europe, Downing Street refused to cut fuel duty to lessen the burden on drivers.

Then, French truckers staged their own blockades, causing more than 14,000 of France’s 17,000 petrol stations to close.

On September 8, British lorry drivers decided to follow the lead of their counterparts on the Continent.

Farmer Brynle Williams – who went on to become a Conservative member of the Welsh Assembly – led a convoy of trucks which blocked Shell’s Stanlow oil refinery near Ellesmere Port, in Cheshire.

There were also similar scenes at rival Texaco’s refinery in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire.

It took less than 24 hours for the effects of the blockade to filter through to forecourts, which began to run dry. By September 12, as many as 3,000 petrol stations – of 13,500 nationally – were dry.

Supermarket shelves in Bristol stand empty after fuel shortages across the country encouraged panic buying September 13, 2000

Supermarket shelves in Bristol stand empty after fuel shortages across the country encouraged panic buying September 13, 2000

Farmer Brynle Williams (left) – who went on to become a Conservative member of the Welsh Assembly – led a convoy of trucks which blocked Shell's Stanlow oil refinery

The then Prime Minister Tony Blair's popularity plummeted as he took a tough line by refusing to cut fuel duty, which he had hiked less than two years earlier

Farmer Brynle Williams (left) – who went on to become a Conservative member of the Welsh Assembly – led a convoy of trucks which blocked Shell’s Stanlow oil refinery. Right: the then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s popularity plummeted as he took a tough line by refusing to cut fuel duty, which he had hiked less than two years earlier

The protest was sparked by the Government's refusal to cut fuel duty, even though Britain's prices at the pumps were already the highest in Europe. Pictured: the Daily Mail's front page on September 12, 2000

The protest was sparked by the Government’s refusal to cut fuel duty, even though Britain’s prices at the pumps were already the highest in Europe. Pictured: the Daily Mail’s front page on September 12, 2000

This chart shows how prices have risen from around 80p a litre at the time of the September 2000 protests to upwards of £1.25 in 2021

This chart shows how prices have risen from around 80p a litre at the time of the September 2000 protests to upwards of £1.25 in 2021

On September 11, BP said that 600 of its 1,500 outlets had run dry or were soon going to. Esso said more than 350 of its 1,600 had run out, while Texaco said one in three of its outlets were set to end up empty.

The country’s largest inland oil terminal, Kingsbury in North Warwickshire, was closed after protesters blockaded its access gates.

In Southampton, Esso’s Fawley Oil Refinery was blocked, leading to shortages in Poole, Portsmouth and New Milton.

Other depots to be blocked included those run by Texaco and Total at Avonmouth Docks in Bristol.

And, as was to be expected, panicking motorists then took the chance to fill up where they could, making the situation even worse.

To try to deter panic buyers, one petrol station in Derby began charging £1.99 a litre for regular unleaded and £2.50 for super-unleaded.

At the blockade outside the Stanlow refinery, a protester had fixed a sign to his bicycle which read: 'On Your Bike Blair'

At the blockade outside the Stanlow refinery, a protester had fixed a sign to his bicycle which read: ‘On Your Bike Blair’

A lorry driver sends Chancellor Gordon Brown a clear message as he drives pass the fuel protest at Shell's Stanlow refinery

A lorry driver sends Chancellor Gordon Brown a clear message as he drives pass the fuel protest at Shell’s Stanlow refinery

With delivery trucks also unable to fill up, the shortages soon spread to supermarkets and other stores. Above: The empty aisles of a supermarket in London's Docklands on September 13, 2000

With delivery trucks also unable to fill up, the shortages soon spread to supermarkets and other stores. Above: The empty aisles of a supermarket in London’s Docklands on September 13, 2000

It took less than 24 hours for the effects of the September 8 blockade to filter through to forecourts, which began to run dry. By September 12, as many as 3,000 petrol stations – of 13,500 nationally - were dry. Above: Queues at a Shell service station in Manchester on September 14

It took less than 24 hours for the effects of the September 8 blockade to filter through to forecourts, which began to run dry. By September 12, as many as 3,000 petrol stations – of 13,500 nationally – were dry. Above: Queues at a Shell service station in Manchester on September 14

Taxi drivers also joined in the protest. They are seen above holding up traffic in Liverpool as the Government sought to end the crisis

Taxi drivers also joined in the protest. They are seen above holding up traffic in Liverpool as the Government sought to end the crisis

Police officers are seen marching to respond to the Stanlow blockade during the September crisis, which wreaked havoc around the country

Police officers are seen marching to respond to the Stanlow blockade during the September crisis, which wreaked havoc around the country

Owner Paul Gizzonio defended himself, saying: ‘I haven’t done this to rip anyone off. I’m a businessman who has to make money and I won’t make anything when fuel runs out.’

With delivery trucks also unable to fill up, the shortages soon spread to supermarkets and other stores.

Worried shoppers also flocked to stock up on essential goods, leading to empty shelves and heaping further pressure on the stretched supply chains.

Ambulance services were also forced to cancel all non-emergency journeys to and from hospitals to save fuel.

The Royal Mail also warned that they did not have enough fuel to keep their delivery trucks going, while more than 70 schools closed and even rubbish collections were hit.

Protesters manning barricades at fuel depots were also persuading tanker drivers not to cross their picket lines as they sought to force the Government to cut fuel duty and lower prices at the pumps.

At Scotland’s Grangemouth depot, which normally supplied 90 per cent of the nation’s fuel via 300 truckloads a day, only 13 tankers made it through the blockaders’ picket line on September 13.

At a Downing Street press conference, Mr Blair said: ‘No government, indeed no country can retain credibility in its democratic process or its economic policy-making were it to give in to such protests. Real damage is being done to real people.’

Two days earlier, on September 11, a special meeting of the Privy Council presided over by the Queen at Balmoral to give the Government emergency powers to break the blockades, including the use of the Army and orders to police to break up the pickets.

In a sign of the depth feeling, one farmer who had already been crippled by the mad cow disease crisis joined a group called Farmers For Action which blockaded the refinery at Ellesmere Port in Liverpool.

In a sign of the depth of feeling, one haulier who had parked his lorry on a busy A-road in Newcastle, bringing chaos to the transport artery, said: ‘People thought we would never have scenes in this country like the ones in France.

‘But people are fed up. Maybe Tony Blair will take notice when a major road comes to a standstill in the middle of a busy Friday. It is a big enough issue to decide the next election.

As well as blockading fuel depots and refineries, truckers also took to the roads in 'go-slow' protests which caused huge traffic jams

As well as blockading fuel depots and refineries, truckers also took to the roads in ‘go-slow’ protests which caused huge traffic jams

This protest on the A11 outside Norwich was led by an array of farm vehicles, including tractors and agricultural lorries

This protest on the A11 outside Norwich was led by an array of farm vehicles, including tractors and agricultural lorries

Truckers also drove to London to block the streets of the capital with their vehicles. Above: lorries fill the roads near Hyde Park in Central London

Truckers also drove to London to block the streets of the capital with their vehicles. Above: lorries fill the roads near Hyde Park in Central London

This image, taken on September 13, 2000, shows truckers on London's Park Lane using a petrol can hanging from a vehicle to voice their opinions about fuel duty

This image, taken on September 13, 2000, shows truckers on London’s Park Lane using a petrol can hanging from a vehicle to voice their opinions about fuel duty

On September 14, after army drivers had been put on standby to break through the blockade, Mr Williams said the blockade at Stanlow was going to end. Demonstrators at other sites then quickly followed and around 20 per cent of the network was back up and running within 24 hours. Above: Trucks leave Bristol's Avenmouth depot as their protest came to an end. A sign on one warned that the crisis was only 'over for now'

On September 14, after army drivers had been put on standby to break through the blockade, Mr Williams said the blockade at Stanlow was going to end. Demonstrators at other sites then quickly followed and around 20 per cent of the network was back up and running within 24 hours. Above: Trucks leave Bristol’s Avenmouth depot as their protest came to an end. A sign on one warned that the crisis was only ‘over for now’

‘I don’t want to cause mayhem, but today I decided the time had come. It is not just truckers, people with private cars are sick of paying £50 to fill up their tanks.’

On September 13, Blair met with oil company executives who pledged to get supplies moving again – after they had been accused to collaborating with protesters.

However, the situation looked as though it would get worse still when a lorry demonstration descended on London, causing huge traffic jams.

Then, on September 14, after army drivers had been put on standby to break through the blockade, Mr Williams said the blockade at Stanlow was going to end.

Demonstrators at other sites then quickly followed and around 20 per cent of the network was back up and running within 24 hours, with the rest following in the days that followed. 

Whilst subsequent protests did cause problems in 2005 and again in 2007, it was the crisis in 2000 which was the most damaging for the nation and the Blair government.

In his budget in 2000, Chancellor Mr Brown announced changes to ease the burden on motorists.

Duty on ultra-low sulphur petrol was cut, whilst the tax on other grades of fuel was frozen for two years.

More vehicles were also put into the lowest vehicle excise duty (VED) band, a change which translated into a cut of 50 per cent for most lorries.

The Government also forced foreign lorries to pay a tax to use British roads.

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