'It could be a grim Christmas': Brexit blamed for Hackney fuel shortages

Queues for JET petrol station in Lower Clapton on September 25. 

Queues for JET petrol station in Lower Clapton on September 25. - Credit: @timgmorris

Hackney MPs have weighed in on the fuel crisis as shortages at petrol stations cause havoc on local roads.

Long queues at petrol stations across the country have been seen for three days with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan saying some care workers, NHS staff and taxi drivers are unable to fill up. 

Mr Khan said the cause of the problem has been a predictable shortage of haulage drivers since Brexit and the pandemics affect on the training of new drivers. 

Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott weighed in on Twitter, adding: "There is no question that the cause of our current food and petrol shortages is Brexit.

"The Brexiters refuse to admit it. But nobody can say that we were not warned."

The MP was also critical of the government's transport chief Grant Shapps's claims about there being no fuel shortage. He blamed the problems on 'panic buying'. 

"If you believe that, you will believe anything," Ms Abbott said on Twitter. 

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Meanwhile, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch Meg Hillier has been challenging the government's Department for Business this week in Westminster about the recent hike in energy prices and the collapse of several energy suppliers. 

In response to £20 cuts to Universal Credit and the planned increase in National Insurance contributions due next April, Ms Hillier said during her weekly online round-up: "Household pockets are being hit hard and the government needs to have a plan. Not just for energy but to look at this impact on households."

Ms Abbott also shared her concerns for the coming winter: "There is definitely going to be less money in the pockets of Hackney people because of a combination of the cut in universal credit, increase in national insurance and rising prices.

"The detrimental effects of Brexit were predicted at the time and they are now feeding through with fuel shortages and empty shelves in supermarkets. It could be a very grim Christmas for people in Hackney."

Sainsbury's petrol station at Attleborough closes as they run out of fuel after customers panic buy.

A familiar site for many drivers in Hackney and across the UK. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Meanwhile, to ease the immediate crisis the Prime Minister will consider today (September 27) whether to call in soldiers to deliver fuel to petrol stations.

In addition, the transport minister has announced the creation of 5,000 three-month visas to bring in extra hauliers from abroad to address delivery pressures. 

He told the BBC the move would fix the “100 to 200” fuel tanker driver shortfall, as he urged motorists to be “sensible” and only fill up when necessary to help alleviate the queues.

Hackney council have reported that it is not experiencing any issues with fuel supply for its Environmental Services Fleet which are responsible for bin collection. 

The team uses hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), which it describes as "effectively refined chip fat" and adds that "if there were to be a shortage of fuel, due to delayed deliveries, we would not be in competition with car drivers".

The Environmental Services team stated: "So far we have not experienced any issues with fuel supply for our Environmental Services fleet and our supplier has not indicated that there will be any in the near future.

"We are of course keeping in regular touch with our fuel supplier so that we can be alerted to any potential issues going forward."

They continued: "Waste services will therefore continue to be delivered uninterrupted and in the event that we do start to have difficulties with delivery of fuel, we will prioritise the refuse service to ensure that collections of waste are maintained to residential and commercial properties."

Meanwhile a spokesperson for Hackney council said: "We are aware that queuing for petrol is causing disruption to our road network and across London. This is affecting many people and causing delays to emergency services buses and businesses. We ask people to only buy petrol when needed."

A spokesperson for London Ambulance Service (LAS) added that no reports have been flagged of ambulances not being able to get through roads blocked by traffic. 

They added: “We have tried and tested plans in place, and therefore we have no current issues with accessing fuel for our frontline vehicles.”



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