Sainsbury’s in Otford only offers fuel to emergency services


A supermarket gas station now only allows emergency service personnel to stock up on fuel.

The Sainsbury’s of Otford have installed a sign at the entrance to the forecourt stating “fuel emergency services only”.

Sainsbury’s gas station in Otford is only open for emergency services. Photo Alex Jee

The move comes at the end of the third day of motorists facing long queues as they attempt to get gasoline ready for the week’s work.

Thousands of gas stations are running out of fuel after the first sign of trouble leads to “frenzied” panic buying.

It started on Thursday evening when BP announced that it was “having fuel supply issues at some of our UK retail locations” and had to temporarily shut down a handful of locations. This included two at Maidstone.

Gas stations were flooded on Friday as drivers began to panic buying and causing traffic jams across the county.

This continued throughout the weekend, leaving freeway services empty and the price of fuel began to skyrocket.

Sainsbury's gas station in Otford is only open for emergency services.  Photo Alex Jee
Sainsbury’s gas station in Otford is only open for emergency services. Photo Alex Jee

Meanwhile, the government has announced plans to address the issues by addressing the shortage of heavy truck drivers – the main cause of the problems.

A temporary visa program will allow 5,000 foreign heavy truck drivers to enter the UK on three-month contracts until Christmas Eve in a bid to resolve fuel delivery issues.

Letters to nearly a million people with heavy truck licenses will be sent over the next few days convincing them to come back now that wages have gone up.

The visa plan has been heavily criticized.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said the “limited scope” of the government announcement had “surprised many” and called for a “Cobra-type” committee to help ease the short-term pressures on as the economy rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic.

Traffic queuing to access a petrol station in Wigmore, near Rainham (51577871)
Traffic queuing to access a petrol station in Wigmore, near Rainham (51577871)

Union Unite said the visa initiative was an invitation to “plunder workers from other countries” which amounted to “supporting a broken and exploitative system.”

The Petrol Retailers Association, which represents nearly 5,500 independent outlets, said about two-thirds of its members say they have run out of fuel, the rest of them “partly dry and soon to be depleted.”

During interviews broadcast on Sunday, Mr Shapps called on the public to be “sensitive” and to refuel their cars only when needed, as there is “a lot of fuel” available.

But he admitted to Times Radio that the truck driver shortage could take “years to fully unwind.” The Cabinet minister admitted he “did not want” to allow foreign workers to fill labor shortages, after saying only on Friday that importing labor could lower wages, but said the government had acted to reassure motorists queuing.

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