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Petrol shortages: No10 says ‘hard to put specific date’ on return to normal as army delivers fuel

Follow events as they happened

Zoe Tidman
Monday 04 October 2021 16:04 BST
Military tankers begin delivering fuel in bid to ease crisis

No 10 said it is “hard to put a specific date” on when fuel supplies would return to normal - but insisted the situation was improving.

“We’ve seen demand return back towards normal levels,” the prime minister’s official spokesperson said on Monday.

It came as army tanker drivers started delivering fuel to petrol stations in a bid to ease shortages as Operation Escalin got underway.

The troops were set to be concentrated in London and the Southeast, where the worst fuel shortages remained.

Petrol stations have run dry and long queues have formed at forecourts as the UK grappled with the fuel crisis caused by a shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers and panic buying.


Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the UK’s ongoing fuel crisis.

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 09:00

Military personnel hit the roads to tackle fuel crisis

Military personnel have started delivering fuel to petrol stations for the first time in a bid to tackle the ongoing supply crisis.

About 200 military personnel, half of them tanker drivers, have hit the road under Operation Escalin, to deliver fuel to forecourts across the country.

Namita Singh reports:

Military tankers begin delivering fuel in bid to ease supply crisis

About 200 military personnel have hit the road under Operation Escalin to deliver fuel to forecourts across the country

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 09:01

‘The good news is it is getting better’ - Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak has spoken about the fuel crisis this morning, saying the situation was “improving”.

“These are the facts, so no one is trying to sugarcoat it,” he told LBC.

“We know there’s enough petrol at our refineries and our terminals, and the issue is we’ve had a very steep demand spike.”

He added: “The good news is it is getting better, so I think every single day since about last Tuesday we’ve delivered more petrol to forecourts than has been taken out, the number of people getting deliveries has increased, the volume of fuel getting delivered has increased.”

The chancellor said the situation “has been improving” for over a week.

Watch his full comments here:

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 09:20

Army arrives at Hertfordshire oil depot

Members of the armed forces have arrived at the Buncefield oil depot in Hemel Hempstead as the military is drafted in to deliver fuel to petrol stations.

Soldiers in uniform and wearing face masks were spotted walking near the gates to the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal on Monday morning.

Members of the armed forces at Buncefield oil depot


Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 09:34

‘We should hopefully see some improvements'

A Tory MP for Portsmouth said she has spoken to petrol stations who have been out of fuel for nearly a week.

“Armed Forces start driving tankers from today. We should hopefully see some improvements come from that,” Penny Mordaunt said.

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 09:48

Shortages continue

Petrol stations are still reporting fuel shortages this morning.

One Esso station in London put a sign out front saying they currently had no fuel:

A sign informing customers that fuel has run out is pictured at a Esso fuel station in London

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 10:01

Watch as army tanker drivers take to road

Military tanker drivers are taking to the roads as the fuel crisis continues to grip the country.

Watch on Independent TV:

Watch: Military tankers begin delivering fuel in bid to ease crisis

Military tanker drivers take to the roads as the fuel crisis continues to grip the country. A fuel tanker was filmed leaving a depot in Essex on the day that around 200 military personnel, half of them drivers, are being deployed in Operation Escalin, despite ministers insisting the situation at the pumps is easing.Pumps began to dry up last week due to a shortage of specialist HGV drivers to deliver the fuel.The government announced the temporary visa scheme for foreign HGV drivers that was due to expire on Christmas Eve will now be extended to the end of February.

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 10:45

Which areas are worst hit by crisis?

A traffic light system has been drawn up to monitor the current fuel shortage crisis.

Ella Glover takes a look at which areas are the worst hit:

Map shows areas hit hardest by UK’s fuel crisis as panic buying continues

London, the South East, the North West, the West Midlands and the East Midlands have fuel levels at less than 20%

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 10:52

Rishi Sunak gives positive message to media

Rishi Sunak told the media this morning that the petrol crisis was “improving”.

As well as in an interview on LBC, the chancellor gave the same message to Good Morning Britain.

Watch here:

Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 11:02


UK ministers have repeatedly denied that the fuel crisis has anything to do with Brexit and have cast the trucker shortage as a global problem.

But European neighbours have not experienced the same queues at gas stations.

Here is The Independent’s editorial on this issue:

Editorial: The UK’s problem is Brexit – and that problem is here to stay

Editorial: The government has spent most of the past week pretending the fuel crisis has nothing to do with Brexit. It is palpably untrue


Zoe Tidman4 October 2021 11:38

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