Britain put its army on standby on Monday to help with the ongoing fuel crisis. There is a shortage of petrol and diesel at filling stations because too few truck drivers supply them. The problems are compounded by Britons flocking to pumps to stock up for fear of running out of fuel.
“A limited number of military tanker drivers should be placed on standby and deployed if necessary to further stabilize the fuel supply chain,” the economy ministry said in a statement Monday evening.
The military will receive specialized training before being deployed if the crisis does not diminish in the coming days. “While the fuel industry expects demand to return to normal levels in the coming days, it is only right that we take this sensitive precautionary measure,” said UK Economic Affairs Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
“If necessary, the deployment of military personnel will provide the supply chain with additional capacity as a temporary measure to relieve pressures caused by spikes in local fuel demand,” he added.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last weekend that thousands of temporary work visas would be issued to foreign truck drivers to alleviate the driver shortage. He thus made a drastic turnaround in the strict immigration policy after Brexit.
Oil companies including Shell, BP and Esso said there was “enough fuel at UK refineries”. They expect demand to return to normal levels within a few days, which will ease the pressure on gas stations.