BP closes fuel stations over 'too many drivers self isolating'

Fuel retailer BP said it had closed several sites temporarily because of a shortage of fuel.

But it stressed the main reason was a lack of qualified lorry drivers, although a fuel distribution terminal has been closed for a few days because of the number of people self-isolating.

In a statement, BP said: "We are experiencing some fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK and unfortunately have therefore seen a handful of sites temporarily close due to a lack of both unleaded and diesel grades. However, the vast majority of these temporary issues are being resolved within a day.

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"Our supply chain has been impacted primarily by the industry-wide driver shortages across the UK.

BP says it has a lack of drivers.

"The situation was exacerbated last week by the temporary closure for a number of days of our Hemel Hempstead fuel distribution terminal due to necessary Covid-19 isolations amongst staff there.

"The terminal is now operating as normal once again.

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"We are working hard with our haulier supplier to deliver fuel into sites and minimise any disruption to our customers. We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy at the Road Haulage Association (RHA), has described the shortage of lorry drivers in the UK due to Brexit and the “pingdemic” as “a recipe for chaos”.

He said: “We don’t know how many drivers are affected in terms of the pingdemic on a daily basis, but the effects are clear.

“We started off with a shortage of 100,000 drivers, UK lorry drivers, and that’s because we’ve always had a shortage of 60,000 and we’ve lost an additional 20,000 European drivers, add to that 30,000 cancelled lorry driving tests in the past year which haven’t been made up.

“That’s a shortage of 100,000, and when you’re that short on staff to begin with, and you have the pingdemic on top of that, you’ve got a recipe for chaos, and chaos is what we’re now seeing unfolding in front of our eyes.”

He added: “What we’re able to see is the effect in terms of our shops, our supermarkets and everything else. There are fewer drivers than there were last week – and there were shortages last week.

“Since the pingdemic has peaked we’re seeing this critical shortage get even worse.”

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