Fifth of petrol stations in South East remain without fuel

4 October 2021, 16:59 | Updated: 4 October 2021, 17:05

Many petrol stations in London and the South East remain closed
Many petrol stations in London and the South East remain closed. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

A fifth of petrol stations in London and the South East remain without fuel on Monday as the military helps deliver to forecourts.

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) said the region has only see a "marginal" improvement and still faces a "challenging" time.

The organisation conducted a survey of a quarter of all independent petrol stations in Great Britain on Monday morning.

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When it comes to the rest of the country 8% of petrol stations were without fuel, the PRA said, adding that 86% of sites surveyed have both petrol and diesel available.

The association represents independent forecourts across the UK and works with around 80% of all motorway services areas.

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the PRA, said it is "grateful" that the Government has brought in military drivers to make deliveries but called for more action to address "the needs of disproportionately affected areas".

He said: "Today's figures show the situation is still challenging around London and the South East despite a marginal improvement: 52% of the sites surveyed have both grades of fuel (petrol and diesel) available, 18% have only one grade and 20% are dry.

"Across the rest of the country, however, there has been a marked improvement since yesterday with 86% of sites having both grades of fuel thanks to steady deliveries and stabilising demand, 6% having only one grade and 8% being dry.

"We are grateful for the support lent by the Government through their provision of military drivers, although further action must be taken to address the needs of disproportionately affected areas".

Members of the armed forces arrived at the Buncefield oil depot in Hemel Hempstead on Monday to help deliver fuel, with soldiers - in uniform and wearing face masks - seen walking near the gates to the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal.

Speaking to LBC this morning, chancellor Rishi Sunak said the measure was an "extra precaution" and insisted the situation is "improving".

However, he refused to guarantee the crisis would be over by the end of the week.

Downing Street later said fuel supplies returning to normal would depend on demand but insisted there were "significant stocks" around the country.

A spokesperson said of the army deployment: "We are working closely with industry to help increase fuel stocks and there are signs of improvement in average forecourt stocks across the UK with demand continuing to stabilise.

"Stocks in London and the South of England have been recovering at slightly slower rates than other parts of the UK, so we have begun deploying military personnel to boost supply in these areas.

"More than half of those who have completed training to make fuel deliveries are being deployed to terminals serving London and the South East of England, demonstrating that the sector is allocating drivers to areas most affected in this first phase from Monday."