United Kingdom

'Wild West' petrol panic: Drivers spend night hunting for fuel

Britain's fuel crisis shows no sign of abating today as drivers again queued through the night outside petrol stations amid 'Wild West' scenes that saw fist and knife fights break out at the pumps. 

Motorists reported queues at 11pm, 3am and 5.30am across the UK as the Government was accused of being 'asleep at the wheel' and critics questioned claims within Whitehall that the crisis will be over within two to three days.

The Government is putting the military on standby after a widespread shortage of truck drivers, which has led to serious supply problems for retailers and restaurants in the past few months, meaning plentiful stocks of fuel have not reached filling stations. 

But critics have said Boris Johnson has known for months that there is a lack of HGV drivers but ministers have had had their 'heads in the sand'. The Prime Minister has 150 soldiers ready to drive tankers but they will not be brought in yet with one Government source telling The Times: 'We believe that the crisis will recede in the next few days'.

Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said Britain's petrol stations had becoming the "Wild West" after he queued for fuel only for it to sell out before everyone got to the pumps. He said: 'Man behind me was furious and started punching the guard', adding it 'became a melee of 8-10 men on the ground, punching and kicking'.

Amid widespread scenes of enormous queueing across Britain's forecourts, footage emerged of a man holding what appears to be a knife shouting at a driver outside a petrol station in Welling, south east London.  The video then shows the car ramming into the alleged knifeman, who is then carried for several yards on the bonnet.  

The queues at 3am in London for fuel as the crisis continues across the UK as Boris Johnson kept soldiers on standby to drive tankers

Residents of Romford have said they have had non-stop queues for the past 5 days but Government sources have insisted the crisis will ease this week 

Queues in London this morning at 5.30am as fights break out at the pumps as petrol stations run dry

Cars were queuing in all directions for fuel at this petrol station in Brent this morning

Met Police say officers had been called at 2.37pm on Monday to a disturbance in Bellegrove Road, Welling, but 'no trace' of either vehicle was found. No injuries were reported and no suspects have been identified. 

And it is proving so difficult to get fuel, thieves have been siphoning it from cars, sometimes drilling into the petrol tank, Shadrack Olaloko, from Birmingham, said: 'What these guys did was they came and drained out all my fuel in the tank'. 

Under an emergency government plan, key workers could be given 'priority access' to a number of petrol stations. The plan involves capping the amount of fuel drivers can buy and letting critical workers have 'priority access' to pumps, The Telegraph reports. 

Another option, the designated filling station scheme, could see 'emergency and critical service vehicles' having priority access. This was done by Tony Blair's government during the 2000 fuel crisis. 

Some areas have already seen bin collections cancelled, and teaching unions have warned that schools could need to go back to online learning if teachers cannot drive to work. 

After a dizzying 24 hours of dithering over the use of soldiers to plug the HGV driver gap, ministers agreed to put the Army on standby. It is hoped that panic-buying will ease this week to reduce pressure on fuel supplies. But if the crisis does not abate, ministers will trigger 'Operation Escalin'.

About 150 military tanker drivers were put into a state of readiness under the operation, sources said. Some of them will receive further training in the next few days to be able to deliver fuel if required. The operation, originally conceived in case of a no-deal Brexit, could potentially see hundreds of troops brought in to help.  

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps last night announced that army tanker drivers were being put on standby. 

He tweeted: 'Today we're asking army tanker drivers to be ready to deploy. And extending licences for fuel transporters to keep on road. As joint statement by 10 fuel suppliers says, if everyone buys fuel as normal petrol stations will revert to normal service.' 

Chairman of the British Medical Association council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, told The Times that 'everyone will have their own reasons for needing to fill up, but as pumps run dry there is a real risk that NHS staff won't be able to do their jobs and provide vital services and care to people who urgently need it'. 

National officer of the GMB union, Rachel Harrison, told The Mirror: 'During this completely avoidable crisis, petrol must be prioritised for those key workers who save lives and keep the country moving.' 

Fuel shortages escalate due to panic buying as Sainsburys near Clapham South yesterday

A driver pulled a knife on a motorist and was then run over in an alleged row over petrol, footage appears to show

The move to mobilise the army comes after a widespread shortage of truck drivers, which has led to serious supply problems for retailers and restaurants in the past few months, has meant plentiful stocks of fuel have not reached filling stations (pictured: Army tanker in 2000 amid a previous crisis)

Police intervene at an Esso garage in Rayners Lane as traffic blocks all approaches and junctions towards the petrol station

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tonight announced that army tanker drivers were being put on standby. He tweeted: 'Today we're asking army tanker drivers to be ready to deploy. And extending licences for fuel transporters to keep on road. As joint statement by 10 fuel suppliers says, if everyone buys fuel as normal petrol stations will revert to normal service.'

A police officer is pictured speaking with people at a north London petrol station amid an ongoing fuel crisis

Police intervene at an Esso garage in Rayners Lane yesterday as queues of traffic block all approaches and junctions

Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay chaired cross-government talks on Monday afternoon to discuss the situation as industry leaders continued to insist there is 'plenty' of fuel at UK refineries and terminals.

Leading suppliers, including BP, Esso and Shell, said demand for petrol should return to normal levels in 'the coming days'. 

'As an industry we are working closely with the Government to help ensure fuel is available to be delivered to stations across the country,' they said in a joint statement last night. 

'PLEASE BE MORE THOUGHTFUL TO PARAMEDICS' 

A paramedic had to try five different garages before she could fill up her ambulance.

Jennifer Ward, 21, drove around desperately for an hour and a half.

She began her shift in Norfolk with a full tank – but after driving more than 250 miles needed to refuel.

'We work a stressful job and we don't need any added anxiety,' she said. 'We've now got to try to plan our day around where they'll accept blue lights as a priority. It angers you when you see the photos of people panic-buying.'

Miss Ward, who works for independent emergency care provider Medicare EMS Group UK Ltd, urged drivers to be 'more thoughtful' and only buy the fuel they need.

The government had already announced plans to issue temporary visas for 5,000 foreign truck drivers, suspend competition laws and entice former drivers back into the industry as part of measures to deal with the labour shortage.

It said it would now put a limited number of military tanker drivers on a state of readiness to be deployed if necessary.

'While the fuel industry expects demand will return to its normal levels in the coming days, it's right that we take this sensible, precautionary step,' business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said in a statement late on Monday.

'If required, the deployment of military personnel will provide the supply chain with additional capacity as a temporary measure to help ease pressures caused by spikes in localised demand for fuel.'

The army tanker drivers will receive specialised training before deploying to help deal with supply chain issues, the government said.

The demand for fuel has meant that 50% to 90% of pumps were dry in some areas of Britain, according The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents independent fuel retailers who account for 65% of all the 8,380 UK forecourts.

The fuel industry says there is no shortage, and the issue is transporting petrol and diesel to forecourts.

'As many cars are now holding more fuel than usual, we expect that demand will return to its normal levels in the coming days, easing pressures on fuel station forecourts. We would encourage everyone to buy fuel as they usually would,' said a joint statement from fuel firms.

However, hauliers, gas stations and retailers say there are no quick fixes as the shortfall of truck drivers - estimated to be around 100,000 - was so acute, and because transporting fuel demands additional training and licensing.

The government said it was also extending specific HGV (heavy good vehicle) licences, which allow drivers to transport fuel, for those whose permits were due to expire in the next three months to allow them to keep working without having to take refresher courses.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps said they were already seeing an easing of demand at gas stations as the public responded to the message not to buy fuel unnecessarily.

The fuel crisis has seen up to nine in ten forecourts run dry, leaving NHS staff including doctors and nurses as well as care workers without petrol and schools planning a return to online learning because teachers can't fill up their cars. There are growing calls for critical workers to get priority access to forecourts this week. 

Police have now been called in to control forecourts, with officers pictured at a north London Esso garage directing traffic, with all approaches to the station blocked by a huge queue of cars. 

John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said officers are having to go to petrol stations to make sure people are 'behaving sensibly'. He said: 'People are panic buying fuel and this is putting a strain on policing in a number of ways.

'Police officers are having to attend petrol stations to ensure people are behaving sensibly. They also must get to and from their place of work, and this is being increasingly inhibited as they struggle to fuel vehicles.

'The government needs to give urgent consideration as to how my colleagues and other emergency workers can get the fuel they need to travel to work and do their job.'

It came as Halfords revealed the sale of jerry cans went up 1,656 per cent over the weekend, and one driver was filmed filling water bottles with petrol. 

Gavin Rabbitt stopped at Shell garage in Cobham Services on the M25 yesterday and sat in disbelief as he watched a woman empty two 1.5litre water bottles and then fill them up with fuel - seemingly unaware the bottle could explode, or melt, because it is not a vessel to legally carry petrol. 

A woman fills empty plastic water bottles with fuel on the M25 at Cobham as panic buying continues with queues predicted for the rest of the week

A queue as staff at the BP direct motorists to a vacant fuel pump at the Boreham Interchange on the A12 near Chelmsford

The Morrisons supermarket petrol station at Bridport in Dorset is out of fuel amid panic buying by motorists

Police had been called to a rural garage near Burnaston, Derbyshire, today following reports of queues of traffic in the local area. Arriving at the unmanned petrol station, officers observed long queues of cars attempting to enter the petrol station

Cars refueling at a BP service station in Wetherby near Leeds, after long waits for fuel again yesterday

The half mile queue from the A14 at Cambridge Services as people scramble to buy fuel at the Shell petrol station on Monday lunchtime

Cars queue at a Tesco garage in Frien Barnet as Downing Street urged people only to buy fuel if they really need it

How can I carry fuel legally from a petrol station - and can I store it at home?

A motorist fills up her vehicle with fuel from a jerry can at a petrol station in London today

What containers can I use to store petrol?

The legislation allows you to store petrol in the following containers:

Suitable portable containers are defined as being 'robust', 'will not significantly degrade due to exposure to petrol' and must be marked with the words 'PETROL' and 'HIGHLY FLAMMABLE'. If it is plastic it must be made of a moulded polyethylene.

Does the petrol in the fuel tank of my car count towards the total I can store?

No – the petrol in the fuel tank of your vehicle, including boats and aircraft, does not count when you are calculating the total amount you are storing.

How much petrol can I store in a vehicle?

You can store up to 30 litres of petrol in a maximum of 2 suitable containers in your vehicle. 

How to store fuel at home?

The Health and Safety Executive says you can legally store 30 litres of petrol at your home but there are strict guidelines about how and where you should put it, because fuel is highly flammable.

It must be kept in:

a) in a shed

b) in a garage

c) Outside no more than six metres from your house - ie, at the end of a drive. 

But officials at the AA recommend people that they 'shouldn't even contemplate storing it at all'.

Mr Rabbitt, from Tonbridge, Kent, who filmed the woman seemingly filling up water bottles with petrol, said: 'I thought ''I can't believe the stupidity of this woman''. This is the kind of thing that causes the problem. People filling up things they shouldn't be filling up and no one else can get the fuel because of other people's stupidity. The queue was all the way down the slip road. We were queuing for about 20 to 30 minutes. She was all blasé and doing it right in front of me. It's ludicrous.'  

Britain's biggest petrol retailers have said they expect the crisis to ease in the next three days because once people have a full tank, demand for fuel is likely to fall away by Thursday or Friday. And Downing Street again denied there is a shortage of fuel, saying there are 'ample stocks in this country'.

But claims that the crisis will be over this week has been questioned by drivers. One said; 'If there was a delivery driver shortage last week, causing some stations to run out, how will that be miraculously resolved by the middle of this week? Some garages around London were out of fuel even before panic buying kicked in'. Another wrote: 'It's hard to rebuild confidence again when this kind of thing starts. People will just keeping topping up their cars and never let them go below a quarter for a long time'. 

The U-turn on calling in the Army was rapid. Environment Secretary George Eustice said yesterday the Government has 'no plans at the moment' to use soldiers to drive petrol tankers amid continuing shortages at filling stations. He said: 'We've no plans at the moment to bring in the Army to actually do the driving, but we always have a Civil Contingencies section within the Army on standby - but we're not jumping to that necessarily at the moment.' That all changed later on,

The British Medical Association (BMA) called for healthcare staff and essential workers to be given priority to access fuel, warning that as pumps run dry 'there is a real risk that NHS staff won't be able to do their jobs'.  

Drivers queued for four hours or more in lines stretching for miles and some even slept in their cars outside petrol stations.  

Electrician Roland McKibbin, 31, from Beckenham, south-east London, said he would only be able to reach one of his jobs on Monday having been unable to fill up his tank, despite visiting four petrol stations.  He said: 'So, basically, the panic-buying idiots have lost me income, and directly taken food off the table for my wife and five-year old son, because I can't wire people's houses from home, unfortunately. I wasted about 15 miles of fuel looking - in the end I had to turn back as I was on fumes.' 

In other developments: 

Karenza Passmore, 55, from Langley Park in County Durham, is the director of the North East Religious Resources centre, an educational charity.

She said she was unable to drive to work on Monday, while the charity may be unable to move resources - such as books and artefacts - to schools and faith groups. 'Yesterday I used 30 (miles) trying to find some diesel but there was no fuel,' she said.

Fuel pumps are out of use at a deserted Shell petrol station forecourt in Warwick

It was a similar picture at this deserted Esso petrol station forecourt in Solihull, Birmingham

A sign informs motorists that there is no fuel at a petrol station near Tonbridge, Kent

People push as a car, which has run out of petrol, the final few metres on to the forecourt as vehicles queue to refill at a Texaco fuel station in south London on Monday morning

Long queue forms outside an ESSO petrol station near Sunbury-on-Thames due to the current problems with the supply and distribution chain for fuel

'EU truckers will NOT help Britain out of the s**t they created themselves': European HGV drivers' union chief dashes hopes of 'short-term visa' fix 

Edwin Atema, Head of enforcement and research at the Dutch-based FNV union, hit out at UK

Lorry drivers from the EU are refusing to come to the UK - because they believe problems plaguing the supply chain are its own fault.

The Government has approved plans to bring in 5,000 foreign HGV operators to deal with the shortage, which has been blamed on a number of factors including the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.

But promises of special visas and attractive pay have fallen on deaf ears, with one union boss declaring they 'will not go to the UK for a short term visa to help UK out of the s**t they created themselves'.

And lorry drivers in this country are as equally disillusioned, with one who gave up the job after 30 years, likening they way they are treated 'to being the lepers of society' 

Edwin Atema, Head of enforcement and research at the Dutch-based FNV union, which represents drivers across the EU and Europe said the UK had an enormous battle on its hands to woo foreign drivers back.

He said: 'Pay is an important area but not the only area. People in Europe and across Europe have completely lost trust in this industry.

'Before the coronavirus crisis and Brexit this industry was sick already. Plagued by expectation, by irresponsible multinationals who drag down prices, which ended up with drivers voting with their feet and leaving the industry.

'The EU workers that we speak to will not go to the UK for a short term visa to help UK out of the s**t they created themselves.' 

Colin Owens, who runs Oil 4 Wales petrol stations in Wales, has said panic buying is completely unnecessary as 'refinery tanks are full', adding that panic buying has seen sales reach five times the levels of last week.

Boris Johnson's plan to bring in 5,000 foreign lorry drivers to deal with the shortage suffered a major blow after the head of an EU truck union declaring they 'will not go to the UK for a short term visa to help UK out of the s**t they created themselves'. Edwin Atema, who represents drivers across the EU and Europe said: 'Before the coronavirus crisis and Brexit this industry was sick already. Plagued by expectation, by irresponsible multinationals who drag down prices, which ended up with drivers voting with their feet and leaving the industry'. 

A lack of fuel led to a mass return to working from home , just weeks after the Government lifted most coronavirus-related legislation to get more people into the office. TomTom traffic data revealed that congestion is down today in all major cities compared to when the chaos began last week.

And petrol stations with a fresh delivery of fuel have already been accused of of hiking fuel prices to as high as £1.57 per litre - up from the national average of £1.35 last week -  and another 10p price rise could be on the way, experts have warned, as some garages sold out of fuel in an hour this morning.

Schools have said they will return to the online classrooms used in lockdown if teachers can't get to work - with some parents also unable to drive - while many petrol stations are now prioritising NHS workers in special two-hour slots where they must show ID to fill up. The manager of a petrol station near Heathrow Airport said staff had been forced to close the toilets to stop customers waiting there for pumps to reopen.

One school in Surrey wrote to parents over the weekend saying: 'The current petrol crisis could potentially disrupt school next week. The ability of staff and pupils to get to school may be compromised and there may also be issues with our food deliveries.  Clearly, we have no desire to go back online so soon after the challenges of the last couple of years but we cannot exclude the possibility that it may be necessary'.

One headteacher tweeted: 'This is actually going to be a problem. I don't have any fuel myself and all the stations in my area are out of diesel. Most of my teachers commute further than ten miles to work'. Desperate motorists have even started following fuel delivery drivers to petrol stations, earning the nickname 'tanker w***ers' from critics, as panic buying continues across the UK with fights even breaking out at the pumps. 

One Twitter user said: 'My brother in law is a lorry driver and delivers fuel. He's on the road now and there are people following him - literally tracking his every turn - in cars. He says it's like end of days'. He added: 'I worried it might be really scary for him, but he just thinks they're all kn*bs'. 

Sales of jerry cans ´17 times higher than normal´ amid fuel crisis 

The fuel crisis has led to soaring demand for jerry cans and forms of transport that do not involve joining lengthy queues, new figures show.

Halfords recorded a 17-fold rise in the number of jerry cans sold over the weekend compared with the same period a week earlier.

The containers, used by motorists to stockpile fuel, was the fourth most common search term on the retailer's website.

But some filling stations are rationing fuel to ensure as many people as possible can fill up their vehicles.

Halfords has also seen a 23% spike in sales of bikes, with demand for electric bikes more than doubling.

With some drivers not ready to make the switch to two wheels, automotive classified ad firm AutoTrader said the number of searches for electric vehicles (EVs) across Saturday and Sunday was 60% higher than during the previous weekend.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said designated petrol stations should be reserved for essential workers.

He said: 'As the current reductions in fuel delivery affect petrol stations across the capital, it is essential that key workers are able to get fuel to travel to work and provide the services our city needs.

'In the fuel crisis of September 2000, the government brought in rules designating specific filling stations for essential workers, enabling the capital to keep moving.

'The Government must urgently look at taking the necessary steps putting such measures in place, so that those key workers who have to drive to work can do so.

'We will continue to monitor developments closely and advise the Government on required actions.'

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for healthcare staff and essential workers to be given priority to access fuel, warning that as pumps run dry 'there is a real risk that NHS staff won't be able to do their jobs'.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of council at the BMA, said: 'Emergency and essential workers rely on fuel both to travel to work and for their work itself - whether this is to get to hospitals, practices and other healthcare settings, or for ambulances to reach people in urgent need of care and GPs to visit very ill patients at home.

'Everyone will have their own reasons for needing to fill up, but as pumps run dry there is a real risk that NHS staff won't be able to do their jobs and provide vital services and care to people who urgently need it.

'While the Government has said it is putting plans in place to alleviate the shortage of HGV drivers to transport fuel, the results of this won't be immediate. Healthcare and essential workers must therefore be given priority access to fuel so they can continue their crucial work and guarantee care to patients.' 

Boris Johnson, pictured with his son Wilf today, later changed his mind after earlier reports that he would nor bring in the military

Tesco staff directing the queues during a rain storm on Monday morning at the petrol station in Ely, Cambridgeshire

Motorists queued for more than a mile to get to a petrol station with fuel in West Norwood, South London

This cancer nurse said they had to spend a huge amount of time and money to get to work after running out of fuel

This driver had visited three petrol stations with no fuel, as she only has 20 miles left in the tank

Desperate drivers can't go to work and have even started following fuel delivery drivers to petrol stations, earning the nickname 'tanker w***ers' from critics as panic buying continues across the UK

Keir Starmer's call to grant visas to 100,000 foreign HGV drivers to solve fuel crisis lasts just ONE DAY as Rachel Reeves says independent migration experts should decide who comes to the UK 

Sir Keir Starmer's call for 100,000 foreign lorry drivers to be granted visas to come to the UK lasted just one day as his own shadow chancellor torpedoed the plan.

Rachel Reeves said it should be up to independent experts to decide how to fill worker shortages.

She said the lack of HGV drivers should be 'urgently' referred to the Migration Advisory Committee which advises the Government on migration policy.

Sir Keir had yesterday called for 100,000 visas to be issued as he blasted the Government's announcement of a temporary visa scheme that will see 5,000 foreign HGV drivers allowed to take up employment in the UK until Christmas Eve.

Ms Reeves said this morning that people queueing for fuel 'couldn't care less whether the HGV driver that has got the petrol to the forecourt is British or foreign'.

She said: 'We have been saying for quite a while now that the Government should refer this to the Migration Advisory Committee about skill shortages but then we need to be training up more British workers to have the skills to be able to do these jobs and improve them, particularly the conditions but also the pay for these HGV drivers.'

One worker has said people panic-buying have 'directly taken food off the table' of his wife and son, as many struggled to commute without any fuel.

Queues stretched out from petrol stations at the weekend as panic-buying added to fuel supply issues caused by a lack of HGV drivers.

A petrol station worker said the demand for fuel has been 'unprecedented' at his small local garage and that shop sales have 'tanked' following a weekend of panic-buying.

Yasser Ahmed, 37, who runs West Drayton service station with his father, said his four-pump station had gone through 30,000 litres of fuel - the amount it would usually sell in a whole week - in just two days.

'That's completely not normal,' he said.

'Yesterday we didn't open up, we lost a whole day yesterday, today dad is in, only because we have a lot of regular customers from the local community who are going to work and want to grab their coffee first in the morning.

'That's the only reason we opened up. We're not selling anything inside, our shop sales have tanked.

'People are saying on social media that petrol station owners are doing really well and making a lot of money - we're not. We make our money from shop sales, and they're gone.'

Mr Ahmed said he had placed an order immediately on Friday afternoon but was still waiting on confirmation of another fuel delivery for Wednesday.

'We're a family-run business, just myself and my dad, so we're going to have to work however we can,' he told the PA news agency.

'It's like in the pandemic, we just did what we needed to do to get by.

'Everyone is panic-buying through fear that it's going to run out and, because of that, it actually has run out.'

Electrician Roland McKibbin, 31, from Beckenham, south-east London, said he would only be able to reach one of his jobs on Monday having been unable to fill up his tank, despite visiting four petrol stations.

'I rely on fuel to travel to jobs - no fuel means I can't drive, which means I can't get to jobs with my tools,' he told the PA news agency.

'So, basically, the panic-buying idiots have lost me income, and directly taken food off the table for my wife and five-year old son, because I can't wire people's houses from home, unfortunately.

Yorkshireman sleeps outside Manchester petrol station after running out of fuel 

A stranded driver has revealed how he slept in his campervan outside a petrol station after he was unable to find anywhere to fill up.

Tom McCann spent last night camped outside the Tesco filling station on Featherstall Road North in Oldham, Greater Manchester.

The 30-year-old was travelling from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, to Wales for a week-long campervan holiday with his Miniature Schnauzer, Arnie, but couldn't find anywhere to refuel on Sunday.

Speaking this morning , Mr McCann said: 'I thought somewhere along the way I'd manage to find some fuel.

'But I must have tried 12 different petrol stations and couldn't find any fuel anywhere.

'So in the end I had to make the decision to stop overnight in Oldham because I'd saved enough to get to this fuel station this morning.

'I came about 5.30am and I've just had to wait for the delivery. I'm just waiting for them to fill up the diesel then I'll be on my way.

'The tanker's here now - the driver was really nice he came over and told me he's got take his break by law.

'He'll help me get on my way but I just appreciate him letting me know and for letting the fuel station for letting me wait it out.

'I mean I had no choice really I don't have enough fuel to get to another station anyway!'

'I wasted about 15 miles of fuel looking - in the end I had to turn back as I was on fumes.'

Mr McKibbin said being unable to travel would cost him 'at least £200 for the day' while he will have to cancel jobs on Tuesday if he cannot fill up before then.

'We've been left at the short end of the stick along with ambulance staff etc,' he said.

The Environment Secretary George Eustice said there were 'no plans at the moment' to use the Army to drive petrol tankers amid continuing shortages at filling stations, after Boris Johnson was thought to be considering sending in troops.

Karenza Passmore, 55, from Langley Park in County Durham, is the director of the North East Religious Resources centre, an educational charity.

She said she was unable to drive to work on Monday, while the charity may be unable to move resources - such as books and artefacts - to schools and faith groups.

'Yesterday I used 30 (miles) trying to find some diesel but there was no fuel,' she told PA.

'The nearest garage to me is four miles so it's a risk now, (chancing) my arm to see if the fuel stations have any in.

'Today I was due to see a colleague in the office - (I'm) going to have to cancel and do it online, hoping things settle and I can fill up soon.

'I don't want to add to the hype - I am sure that things will settle as they did with loo rolls and food on shelves - but the lack of planning and infrastructure for a clearly foreseeable problem is so disappointing.'

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced on Sunday he was temporarily suspending competition laws to allow the industry to share information so it can target areas where fuel supply is running low.

The move came after the Prime Minister Mr Johnson said the Government was creating 5,000 three-month visas for foreign lorry drivers in an attempt to ease the pressure on hauliers which has been blamed over the problems.

A statement by Shell, ExxonMobile and other industry bodies again insisted there was no 'national shortage of fuel' and that the pressures on supply were the result of 'temporary spikes in customer demand'.

Alireza Ghazal, 19, a student from Hayes in west London, said: 'I have been on the search for fuel for three days now and it's all been in vain.

'I was really excited to go back into university and start my social life up again and attend lectures after a year of staying at home.

'I have probably lost more fuel looking for fuel. This is a disgrace that a first world country is running into shortages like this.

'I have had to ration my petrol to last as long as it can, but to be honest it's most likely going to end before the end of today.'

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has agreed to implement a measure to temporarily exempt the oil industry from the Competition Act 1998, as part of a plan called the Downstream Oil Protocol, for the purpose of sharing information and optimising supply.

Officials said the measure will make it easier for industry to share information so that they can prioritise the delivery of fuel to the parts of the country and strategic locations that are most in need.   

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents 5,500 independent stations, told LBC some petrol brands are seeing between 50% and 90% of their sites running dry. 

He said: 'We did a straw poll yesterday morning of a number of our members who have around 200 sites between them.

Angry drivers warn they'll be 'priced off the road' as they accuse petrol stations of hiking fuel prices to as high as £1.54 a litre - amid warnings £1.35 UK average could rise by 10p in a week 

Motorists today accused some petrol stations in Britain of taking advantage of their desperation to fill up their cars by putting up prices as panic buying continued.

Some drivers including children's TV star Paul Chuckle even claimed that the cost was different to that displayed outside or went up while they were waiting in queues.

Fuel experts said they expect pump prices will rise 3 to 10p per litre over the next few weeks - with the biggest hikes in recent days happening in rural areas.

Dozens of cars snaked back in lines from petrol stations across the country over the weekend, swallowing up supplies and forcing many petrol stations to simply close.

Drivers also claimed diesel prices had gone up by as much as 8p in a few days, while others said some petrol stations were turning off their digital price display boards.

The latest data for average UK fuel prices from Experian Catalist was 136.69p for petrol last Friday, up from the latest official Government figure of 134.86p last week.

Conservative MP Robert Halfon told MailOnline today: 'The chaos at the pumps in recent days has resulted in huge hikes in petrol prices. Motorists are now seeing extremely high prices when they fill up at a time of great financial uncertainty.

'It's the hardworking motorists and their families, like those in my own constituency of Harlow, that depend on their vehicles to earn a living, who are being hit the hardest.'

'Fifty per cent of those we spoke to said their sites were dry and some actually said 90 per cent of their sites were dry, so it is on a company-by-company basis and almost on a brand-by-brand basis because some oil companies are still relatively okay in terms of deliveries.'

When asked about possible Government plans to grant temporary visas to get more HGV drivers, Mr Balmer said: 'We are a fuel retailing trade association, not a logistics company, but I would have thought anything like that is going to help, but from what I hear maybe that's not enough, so I know the Government are looking at other measures such as drafting in military drivers.

'What we're hoping is a lot of people have filled up over the weekend, a lot of people only fill up once a month, that might give us some respite to start to replenish stocks over the next few days.'

A suspension to competition law to assist with fuel supplies would be 'very welcome', Brian Madderson of the Petrol Retailers Association has said.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Madderson said that in Northern Ireland 'there does not seem to be a problem at all with supply and retail outlets, so the problem is confined to the mainland'.

He said: 'With the problem of dry sites, we're really talking more about the concentrated urban areas than we are the rural areas at this stage'.

He said dry sites 'are being restocked at the present time but the number of tankers that they're receiving are below the number that they need to be properly restocked at their normal level of between 40% and 50%'.

A suspension in competition law, he said, 'possibly allows the suppliers to put fuel into their competitors' sites ... and if so, the increased flexibility that that would give the supplying industry would be very welcome'.

He added: 'It will be complicated.' Asked if the move is a game-changer, he said: 'No, it's just one of the helps.'

Kevin Hughes, manager at Chaddesley fuel station in Kidderminster, told BBC Breakfast this morning that he had seen queues of at a least a quarter of a mile last week.

He said: 'It all got very, very silly on Friday. We've had a very, very tough time over the past 18 months, but not seen anything like this at all.

'Massive queues - there is no reason to panic buy. We have got plenty of fuel. Most of the customers have been very, very good, but trying to martial them and keep the road open has been interesting.

'Nobody's putting in £5 worth. It's just a case of trying to get people parked up properly, moving along and organised and get them through as quickly as we can. The team in the shop have been absolutely flat out getting people through and that's all we can do.

He added that the fuel station was prioritising NHS workers, saying: 'We have done. Last Saturday evening we had an hour and a half when we stayed open extra and the uptake on that was absolutely brilliant.

'The comments we've had on the Facebook page have been wonderful. Depending on how the situation goes, we're going to assess if we need to do it. So we don't know what's going to happen today – it's going to be interesting.' 

A fuel tanker arrives at a Shell garage in Manchester, amid reports drivers are following the trucks to get ahead of the queues

Cars and vans were weaving in and out of traffic to try to get into this Shell garage in Brentwood

Vehicles including a fire engine queue at a petrol station at Asda in Manchester

Motorists queue for the fourth day of the fuel crisis at Sainsbury's petrol station in north London, amid fears of fuel running out due to a shortage of HGV drivers

Closed pumps are seen on the forecourt of a petrol station which has run out of fuel after an outbreak of panic buying in the UK, in Manchester

Commuters waiting for over an hour get fuel and block the high street in Ascot, Berkshire as the fuel crisis continues

Congestion in London, Manchester and Birmingham were all down on last week's rush hour as fuel became scarce

Long queues before dawn at petrol stations were common across the UK today as the fuel crisis continues

One driver finally managed to get fuel at the third attempt as experts had said between 50% and 90% of independent forecourts are now empty

Ambulance driver is verbally abused on petrol station forecourt for 'letting her vehicle run out of fuel' - after trying for TWO DAYS to fill it up 

Becky Hough was driving around for two days as she neared an empty tank but found queues on forecourts and petrol stations already sold out

An ambulance driver has told how she was verbally abused on a petrol station forecourt after she was unable to fill up the emergency vehicle for two days.

Becky Hough, 24, slammed panic buyers as she was left driving around all weekend in a desperate hunt for fuel, but only found empty pumps.

The 24-year-old apprentice emergency care assistant - who works with paramedics - tweeted about her ordeal.

She was hit with a barrage of criticism saying her ambulance has a big fuel tank and she shouldn't have got so low.

Others said emergency services shouldn't be using normal petrol stations and should have their own pumps.

Becky works for Bristol Ambulance Emergency Medical Services - which provides independent ambulances to private patients, private health care providers and NHS.

Ms Hough, of Basingstoke, Hampshire - whose tweet got over 75,000 likes and retweets - said: 'To everyone that panicked and went to fuel their cars when it wasn't needed, well done.

'On shift on an emergency ambulance, low on fuel and struggling to find somewhere that isn't sold out.' 

The latest developments followed a weekend of chaos that saw an ambulance hit a car in a petrol queue and ministers suspending competition laws in a bid to beat back the crisis. 

And footage filmed in Bromley, Greater London, showed an ambulance being driven by paramedics bumping into the back of the car as paramedics tried to manoeuvre past a queue for a Shell petrol station which had spilled onto the road.  

The paramedics had to stop to exchange details with the driver of the damaged car and a different ambulance had to attend the emergency.   

Police also jumped ahead of queues of traffic at a Hackney petrol station to avoid running out of fuel. Officers said: 'We had to jump the queue, our cars are empty and we can't get to the depot in Romford to refill.' 

A joint statement from energy and logistics companies including Shell, ExxonMobil and Wincanton said: 'We are in regular contact with ministers and policy officials and it was reassuring to meet with the Business Secretary again on Sunday evening and discuss further action.' It also reassured drivers there is 'not a national shortage of fuel'. 

Kevin Hughes, manager at Chaddesley fuel station in Kidderminster, told BBC Breakfast this morning that he had seen queues of at a least a quarter of a mile last week.

He said: 'It all got very, very silly on Friday. We've had a very, very tough time over the past 18 months, but not seen anything like this at all. Massive queues - there is no reason to panic buy. We have got plenty of fuel. Most of the customers have been very, very good, but trying to martial them and keep the road open has been interesting.

'Nobody's putting in £5 worth. It's just a case of trying to get people parked up properly, moving along and organised and get them through as quickly as we can. The team in the shop have been absolutely flat out getting people through and that's all we can do.

He added that the fuel station was prioritising NHS workers, saying: 'We have done. Last Saturday evening we had an hour and a half when we stayed open extra and the uptake on that was absolutely brilliant. The comments we've had on the Facebook page have been wonderful. Depending on how the situation goes, we're going to assess if we need to do it. So we don't know what's going to happen today – it's going to be interesting.'

Government officials have given the green light for plans to bring in 5,000 foreign lorry drivers to deal with the shortage - with the UK said to be 100,000 HGV drivers short, according to the Road Haulage Association.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps took aim at the group, accusing them of sparking the panic buying crisis.

But he also warned that the lorry driver shortage could go on 'for years', despite the Government doubling the number of tests that can be carried out in a bid to quickly boost driver numbers.    

Oil giant BP also said that nearly a third of their petrol stations in Britain have run out of fuel despite continued pleas for motorists to 'continue as normal'. 

BP, which operates 1,200 sites in Britain, said in a statement: 'With the intense demand seen over the past two days, we estimate that around 30 per cent of sites in this network do not currently have either of the main grades of fuel.'

Mr Kwarteng said: 'We have long-standing contingency plans in place to work with industry so that fuel supplies can be maintained and deliveries can still be made in the event of a serious disruption. While there has always been and continues to be plenty of fuel at refineries and terminals, we are aware that there have been some issues with supply chains.

'This is why we will enact the Downstream Oil Protocol to ensure industry can share vital information and work together more effectively to ensure disruption is minimised. We thank HGV drivers and all forecourt staff for their tireless work during this period.'

An ambulance with its siren blaring was held up by huge queues of traffic rushing to buy petrol amid mass panic at the pumps due to Britain's fuel crisis

Officers said: 'We had to jump the queue, our cars are empty and we can't get to the depot in Romford to refill'

More petrol stations are being forced to close after running out of fuel as Britons continue to panic buy amid fears of a shortage

Fuel tankers have arrived in Essex after pumps ran dry yesterday with many fuel stations completely running out of fuel

Motorists queue up for fuel at a Sainsbury's supermarket petrol station in North West London, on September 26

A fight also broke out between moped drivers at a petrol station in north London and was captured and shared online as motorists queued to fill up. 

The footage, shared on Twitter, showed one driver running and jump-kicking another at a BP garage in Haverstock Hill, near Camden as motorists pack out petrol stations across the country. 

The two men were already seemingly being separated before the physical fight began, with one trying to use his crash helmet to attack the other.  

Supply issue threatens Christmas: The classic Christmas dinner could be decimated, with turkey, pigs in blankets, potatoes and brussel sprouts all at risk by ongoing supply and distributions issues, as well as a potential CO2 crisis. Meanwhile, toys, vinyl and books could also experience shortages - with experts even warning of Christmas trees not being available

To cater for the increase in demand in turkeys, many farmers have had to start taking orders earlier than usual with one Cornish farm having customers push to order as early as August.

Supermarket Tesco has already warned that a shortage of delivery drivers, which is causing empty shelves, could lead to panic buying across Britain in the lead up to Christmas.

Kate Martin, a Cornish turkey farmer and chair of the Traditional FarmFresh Turkey Association (TFTA) said: 'Last year we saw record demand, particularly for smaller turkeys, due to an increase in smaller gatherings and a desire to make Christmas lunch extra special, despite the restrictions.

'This year, many of our members have increased their flocks significantly to help meet growing demand for quality turkeys.

'While there will be more Golden Standard turkeys available this year, the orders we are currently seeing surpass anything we have ever seen before.'

It comes as Derbyshire-based EVCL Chill Ltd called in administrators, with around 400 jobs said to be at risk.

Administrators PwC said acute driver shortages had added to the company's challenges.

EVCL Chill, which is based in Alfreston, has sites across the UK including Daventry, Rochdale, Crick and Penrith.

It employed more than 1,000 staff in warehousing and HGV driving roles. Around 650 employees had been transferred 'to key customers', administrators said.

Around 400 staff are said to be 'at risk' and will be addressed about the company's future on Monday, saw PwC.

The company turned over £167million in the period up to December 2020.

But administrators say the firm had lost key customers in recent years. The company's issues had been compounded by the UK's HGV driver shortage, according to PwC.

Meanwhile, community nursing and care workers are also being impacted by the crisis, according to union chiefs.

They say members have warned that staff may struggle to get into work or to their clients on Monday due to being unable to fuel their vehicles.

Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, took aim at the Government over its handling. 

He told MailOnline:'There is no plan in Number 10, only panic - and it's piling pressure on workers and services at every level.

'The run on the forecourts is unnecessarily affecting frontline workers in our ambulance and home care services and the rising cost of energy will cause distress for the lowest paid households trying to make ends meet.

'We need to ensure emergency and community services are properly resourced as a priority and that employers allow more flexibility on working from home to reduce the strain on this avoidable crisis.' 

A major shortage of HGV drivers threatens to wreak havoc this winter, and the shortage has been exacerbated by a huge backlog in HGV tests due to Covid

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