London (dpa) – In Great Britain, the military has been involved in dealing with the fuel crisis since Monday. About 200 members of the army help transport petrol and diesel to filling stations.
The focus of “Operation Escalin” is on London and south-east England, as a government spokesman said. The situation there is not stabilizing as quickly as in other areas. The military operation was originally planned for a so-called no-deal Brexit – i.e. an exit from the EU without a trade pact with Brussels.
The background to the emergency is a blatant shortage of truck drivers. As a result, the existing fuel could not be brought to the filling stations in the end, and numerous pumps remained empty. Hamster and panic buying escalated the situation.
The soldiers were trained by a company specializing in fuel logistics in Essex. “We are working closely with the industry to increase fuel stocks,” said the government spokesman. “There are signs of improvement in average UK gas station supplies as demand stabilizes.” Scotland no more supply problems. In London and south-east England, however, one in five petrol stations (22 percent) still ran out of fuel, and many of them had either only petrol or only diesel. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the military operation a precaution on Sunday.
Temporary work visas for up to 5000 foreign drivers
Britain suffers like many other countries and also Germany under a massive shortage of truck drivers. However, tougher immigration rules after Brexit have exacerbated the UK. Under the impression of empty pumps and long lines in front of gas stations, the government made a U-turn and approved work visas for up to 5000 foreign drivers, which should be valid until the end of February.
In Manchester , where Johnson’s Conservative Party is currently holding its party conference, protested on Monday pig farmers who are also lacking workers from Europe, which is why countless animals are threatened with emergency slaughter. In addition, bottlenecks are feared before Christmas. “We’re not saying there will be no food on the table at Christmas, but we’re having trouble getting the holiday food ready,” said Nick Allen, head of the British Meat Processors Association. If necessary, turkeys would have to be imported from France or even further away. There will be only a limited selection of British products.
Prime Minister Johnson again blamed the global economic upswing after the corona restrictions on Monday in Manchester for the problems and emphasized that there are all over the world a lack of drivers. The UK logistics industry must pay higher wages and make the job more attractive to Brits, he said.
Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak said the short-term visas and accelerated driving tests would help alleviate the problems. “But we cannot wave a magic wand and make global supply chain problems go away overnight,” he told the BBC.