September 27, 2021 10.46 am This story is over 32 months old

Government could deploy army to deliver fuel as panic buying continues in Lincolnshire

People have been calling police to ask where they can get fuel

By Local Democracy Reporter

Fuel companies are keen to stress there is no fuel shortage, and the issues surrounding petrol station closures come from a spike in demand and people panic buying.

It comes as the government is set to suspend competition law and allow oil firms to target fuel deliveries for petrol stations, particularly those in priority areas that need it most.

Competition law encourages firms to improve their offers to customers and make products available at lower prices.

As well as this, ministers are believed to be considering using the army to help deliver fuel across the country.

The issues were amplified last week when queues were spotted at numerous Lincolnshire fuel stations, and a handful of BP and Esso-owned stations were forced to close.

Fuel companies have said the issues do not stem from a national shortage, and are instead due to a temporary spike in demand, after a spate of panic buying and lengthy queues at petrol stations.

The issue can also be attributed to a lorry driver shortage, which has caused issues in a number of key industries such as supermarkets and fast food.

Lincolnshire Police urged drivers not to panic buy and “impede emergency services” by causing “unnecessary delays”.

The force’s control room has been urging people not to call police about the fuel shortages in their area, with some even asking officers if they have a list of places in the county that are stocked.

This message from police was followed up by one Lincolnshire emergency service worker writing to The Lincolnite to ask that people don’t turn this into “the first lockdown all over again” when toilet roll stockpiling was rife.

They said: “Why do we bother risking our health and lives for others (we are still in a pandemic) when people cannot even behave normally and not act selfishly — if people bought items as normal there would be no ‘crisis’, there is enough stock out there on the shelves and in the pumps if people behaved.”

And people have already been struggling to fill up their cars with diesel this morning, with Wragby special needs teacher Emily Whiting telling The Lincolnite: “I am desperate for diesel now. I’m an SEN [special educational needs] teacher in Scunthorpe and I cannot get to work tomorrow if I can’t fill up. I’ve been to six petrol stations this morning and there’s nothing.”