Some petrol stations in Suffolk and Essex to prioritise key workers

1 October 2021, 10:15

Five forecourts in Essex and Suffolk will give key workers priority access to fuel
Five forecourts in Essex and Suffolk will give key workers priority access to fuel. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

East of England Co-op has begun a priority fuelling hour for key workers at petrol stations in Suffolk and Essex amid the fuel shortage crisis.

Five petrol stations in Suffolk and Essex are participating in the scheme, which gives key workers priority access to fuel between 6.00am and 7.00am.

NHS, care workers and emergency service workers are all eligible in the scheme which aims to reduce waiting times and guarantee fuel for key workers to get to work.

Security employees are checking workers' ID at the stations in Framlingham, Felixstowe, Ipswich, Colchester and Brightlingsea.

On Facebook the company said: "During the priority fuelling hour our Forecourts will be accepting any official ID for NHS, police, fire, coastguard and care workers."

It added that the scheme is "subject to availability".

Read more: ‘Knife’ pulled and brawls break out at pumps as fuel queues show no sign of letting up

Huge queues have been seen across the country in recent days as customers flocked to petrol stations amid fears of a fuel crisis.

The government have been criticised for not acting earlier as 150 troops are now understood to be on standby to help deliver fuel as demand continues to surge.

The government says the crisis will end in the coming days.

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Fuel is the latest industry to be hit by supply chain issues due to a HGV huge driver shortage. There are around 90,000 vacancies for drivers in the UK, with the problem worsened by the impact of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last week the government announced an extra 5,000 work visas for HGV drivers that are due to end on Christmas Eve.

This week they announced plans to use army personnel to drive government-owned fuel tankers to distribute fuel around the country.

It comes after multiple government ministers have told the public on social media that there is no fuel shortage, although this seems to have had little impact on consumer queues.

Brawls have broken out on petrol stations forecourts as tensions mounted this week, including an incident on Monday captured on camera in which one motorist appeared to pull out a knife on another before smashing his wing mirror.

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The Metropolitan Police said: "Police were called at 2.37pm on Monday, September 27 to reports of a disturbance involving two motorists outside a petrol garage in Bellegrove Road, Welling. 

"Officers attended and found no trace of either vehicle. No injuries were reported and no suspects were identified. 

"We are aware of footage online which appears to show the incident and will review this as part of our ongoing enquiries."