The British Government finally decided to launch “Operation Escalin,” a deployment of Army staff to “start delivering fuel to pumps” in a move to avert shortages of petrol.
Britons have queued up at gas stations over the past few days, out of fear that the lack of qualified lorry drivers for the distribution of fuel may render their private vehicles useless.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged consumers to “go about their business in the normal way,” filling up only when necessary.
Over 200 soldiers, including 100 drivers, are to be mobilized in a first stage, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced Friday. Shipments will start arriving at stations by Monday.
“While the situation is stabilising, our armed forces are there to fill in any critical vacancies and help keep the country on the move by supporting the industry to deliver fuel to forecourts,” Wallace said.
Around 200 military personnel, including 100 drivers, have had training at haulier sites so they're steady to start with deliveries next week. Garages across the UK started to run out last week due to a shortage of HGV drivers to deliver fuel. The shortages have led to panic buying, huge queues and even fights breaking out.
Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents nearly 5,500 of the UK's 8,300 petrol stations said Scotland, the north of England and parts of the Midlands had seen a distinct improvement with fewer dry sites. But he added the issue remained a big problem in London and southeast England, where if anything it had got worse. He also warned drivers would see a rise in fuel prices next week, but because of global factors and not because of profiteering.
The British Government has also urged people not to panic-buy throughout the shortage. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has explained, “deliveries of fuel to forecourts are above normal levels, and fuel demand is stabilising.”
Britain's lack of HGV drivers has caused supply chain issues across the board - with everything from food to fuel and toys impacted. In an attempt to ease the problem, the government announced that temporary visas for nearly 5,000 foreign drivers which were to expire on Dec. 24 will now be extended to the end of February.