Army can deliver fuel to petrol stations for months if needed - Defence Sec

6 October 2021, 06:21 | Updated: 6 October 2021, 06:25

Ben Wallace told delegates at the Tory party conference that the army could "sustain" fuel deliveries for months if necessary
Ben Wallace told delegates at the Tory party conference that the army could "sustain" fuel deliveries for months if necessary. Picture: Alamy Live News

By Daisy Stephens

The army will be able to keep delivering fuel to forecourts for months if needed, the Defence Secretary has said.

Ben Wallace said the army is prepare to "sustain" fuel deliveries for "weeks or months" if needed, but he also said he thought an "equilibrium" between fuel supply and demand would soon be reached.

"I think when it comes to HGV drivers with tankers and delivering fuel, getting people in a better equilibrium, I think that is going to be okay," said Mr Wallace at a Conservative Party Conference fringe event on Tuesday.

"Of course I have some more HGV tanker drivers and I also need them to do defence functions.

"But we can sustain it for a good few weeks or months if we have to."

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Mr Wallace also said defence staff were helping to train new drivers, saying that more than 50,000 people had now applied for HGV training through the DVLA.

"As much as I am a great fan of the media obviously if you show the panic in a forecourt in London that trickles through to Preston," he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said he is "not worried" about rising prices and the jobs gap, which have both played a role in petrol pumps running dry, mass pig culls and a threat of shortages this Christmas.

Mr Johnson has insisted Christmas would be better than last year's coronavirus-blighted December, despite warnings about supply chain problems.

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However he has repeatedly refused to rule out shortages in the wider economy in the run-up to the festive season.

The Department for Transport has said that 27 emergency visas for fuel tanker drivers have been issued, as well as 100 for food hauliers, out of a total of 300 available.