Sadiq Khan warns fuel crisis will continue for 'foreseeable future'

27 September 2021, 12:10 | Updated: 27 September 2021, 12:53

By James Morris

Sadiq Khan has told LBC he thinks the current fuel crisis will continue for the “foreseeable future”.

The mayor of London said the shortages will carry on for the next few days “at least” – as he urged motorists not to panic buy.

His warning comes after some key workers including medics and teachers said they were unable to get to work today after not being able to fill up their vehicles.

Mr Khan said: “We know for the foreseeable future, there’s going to be a shortage of fuel.

“The reality is because the public hasn’t got confidence in the government messaging – ‘no fuel shortage’ – people who don’t necessarily need to fill up their tank are doing so and that’s compounding the problem.”

Motorists queue for fuel at a Tesco garage in Lewisham, south-east London
Motorists queue for fuel at a Tesco garage in Lewisham, south-east London. Picture: Getty

The government has continued to insist “there isn’t a shortage” of fuel and has blamed motorists for panic buying.

Mr Khan urged people not to panic buy, adding: “I think for the next few days at least there is going to be a shortage of fuel. My message to those who don’t need the fuel is ‘please don’t fill up your tank if you don’t need to’.

"Think of the care worker looking after your mum and dad, think of the hospital staff that need to get to hospital because public transport doesn't serve their hospital. Think of the people who need the fuel.

“I think for the next few days we’ve got a big problem, that’s why it’s really important for the government to get a grip, but also show people they’ve got a grip.”

Read more: Ambulance driver bombarded with abuse on petrol station forecourt while filling up

Demand has shot up by 500 per cent amid a shortage of lorry drivers.

It has been widely reported Boris Johnson is considering drafting in the army to put an end to the chaos at petrol stations which has even seen scuffles break out on some forecourts.

Speaking to broadcasters, however, environment secretary George Eustice said there are “no plans at the moment" to use the army to drive petrol tankers.

Eustice added: “The cause of these current problems is that panic-buying episode and the most important thing is for people to start buying petrol as they normally would.”

Emergency measures were triggered on Sunday evening, with business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng choosing to suspend competition laws for the fuel industry to allow suppliers to target filling stations running low.