The UK Government has “no plans at the moment” to use the Army to drive petrol tankers amid continuing shortages at filling stations, the Environment Secretary has said.
George Eustice said there was not a shortage of fuel and called on motorists to stop “panic-buying” petrol and return to their normal pattern of purchasing after footage has emerged of long queues in south London.
His comments came amid reports Boris Johnson was considering sending in troops to deliver fuel to petrol stations following days of long queues at the pumps.
In a pooled clip for broadcasters, Mr Eustice said: “We are bringing Ministry of Defence (MoD) trainers in to accelerate some of the HGV training to clear a backlog of people who want to carry out those tests, and there’s definitely a role there for the MoD.
“In terms of other things 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.”
Industry leaders have warned drafting in the Army will not on its own end the shortages on the forecourts.
The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) chairman Brian Madderson confirmed some training had been taking place “in the background” for military personnel.
But he warned it was not an “absolute panacea” and that there was no “single lever” the Government and the industry could pull to resolve the crisis.
With long queues at filling stations continuing over the weekend, 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.
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