Fuel industry says recovery 'not quick enough' as pumps left dry in London and South-East

7 October 2021, 16:06 | Updated: 7 October 2021, 18:50

Filling stations in London and the South-East are running dry more quickly.
Filling stations in London and the South-East are running dry more quickly. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

A leading fuel industry body has said the recovery from the petrol crisis is "not happening quickly enough" in London and the South-East, where "chaotic delivery schedules" are leaving pumps dry.

Brian Madderson, of the Petrol Retailers Association, claimed the return to normal fuel levels has been "blighted by the current inept prioritisation policy".

He said: "There is three times the capacity at filling stations per head of population in the rest of the UK compared to London and the South East.

"Together with the fact that there are more cars per household in London and the South East, this probably explains why filling stations in the region are running dry more quickly.

He said independent retailers - which make up nearly two-thirds of the entire network - do not know "when the deliveries are arriving" or "how they are being prioritised".

Read more: Military tankers take to roads to deliver fuel – but Sunak won't say when crisis will end

He added: "Our members in London and the South East are indignant that the fuel crisis persists for a 15th day as a result of failed Government intervention and inappropriate prioritisation.

"They report chaotic delivery schedules, including one case of a tanker having to return to the depot full because it had arrived at a filling station which had just been stocked."

On Sunday, filling stations in Britain had an average fuel stock level of 25%, down from 33% before the crisis.

But the situation varies significantly across the regions, with London, the South-East and the East of England hit the worst.

According to the government's latest figures, the South-East had an average fuel stock of just 16%.

Mr Madderson has called for an independent inquiry into the fuel crisis - which has swept across the UK over the last two weeks.

He said: "Today's PRA survey shows 12% of filling stations in London and the South East are still dry while 17% have just one grade of fuel.

"Seventy-one per cent of filling stations in this region have both grades, compared to 90% outside London and the South East.

"The recovery is simply not happening quickly enough. We are into our 15th day of the crisis.

"There needs to be an independent inquiry into the crisis, so that motorists are protected from such acute fuel shortages in the future."

This story is being updated