Army

Army Tanker Drivers On Standby To Deliver Fuel In 'Temporary Measure'

Military personnel will now receive specialised training, ready to drive to petrol stations most in need.

Military tanker drivers are to be put on standby, ready to help stabilise the supply chain of fuel as long queues continue outside UK petrol stations.

A limited number of British Army drivers will now receive specialised training, ensuring they are ready to deliver fuel to where it is most needed.

The measure is "temporary" and is hoped to ease pressures caused by recent demand spikes, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said.

A shortage of HGV drivers has been blamed for fuel supply problems which have led to lengthy waits outside stations, many of which have been forced to close as supplies run out.

The Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) request was issued by Mr Kwarteng on Monday.

"While the fuel industry expects demand will return to its normal levels in the coming days, it’s right that we take this sensible, precautionary step," he said.

"The UK continues to have strong supplies of fuel, however we are aware of supply chain issues at fuel station forecourts and are taking steps to ease these as a matter of priority.

"If required, the deployment of military personnel will provide the supply chain with additional capacity as a temporary measure to help ease pressures caused by spikes in localised demand for fuel."

Watch: How military personnel learn to drive vehicles such as lorries.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "The men and women of our Armed Forces stand ready to alleviate the transport pressures where they are felt most.

"That is why I have authorised their increased preparedness so they are ready to respond if needed."

However, shadow defence secretary John Healey said the move is an "admission of failure from a Government that continues to rely on the Army to bail it out".

"The Government have been too slow to act despite months of warnings from across the sector," the Labour MP added.

"We know the Army will step up and deliver when asked, but this is a sticking plaster."

There have been long queues for fuel across the UK (Picture: Darren Staples/Alamy Live News).

Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps authorised an extension to ADR driver licences allowing drivers to transport dangerous goods, such as fuel.

Licences expiring between 27 September 2021 and 31 December 2021 will now be valid until 31 January 2022, backdating three-day refresher courses for affected drivers.

The Government's latest decisions follow days of panic buying and fuel pumps running dry.

A joint statement from leading suppliers, including BP, Esso and Shell, said that pressure on filling stations should start to ease with many cars now carrying more fuel than usual.

Emergency measures were triggered on Sunday evening, with Mr Kwarteng choosing to suspend competition laws for the fuel industry to allow suppliers to target filling stations that are running low.