Council leader ‘not enormously worried’ about petrol crisis

The leader of South Gloucestershire Council has said he is “not enormously worried” about the fuel crisis, and blamed the media for causing the panic-buying which has led to shortages at the pumps.

Toby Savage, who heads the Conservative-led council, made his comments during an interview on BBC Radio Bristol this morning (September 28), as the crisis entered its fourth day.

Panic buying has seen many petrol stations struggling to maintain supply, after a shortage of lorry drivers hit the ability of fuel tankers to deliver petrol to station forecourts.

READ MORE: Live petrol crisis updates as army put on standby

The panic buying shows no sign of ending, retailers have warned, as filling stations in many parts of the country continue to run dry.

The army is on standby to drive fuel tankers as the Government acts to ease the crisis, which has seen a rise in average petrol prices across the UK.

Asked by broadcaster John Darvall whether the council was worried about the impact of the crisis on its services, Cllr Savage said: “In terms of the fuel delivery situation, not enormously worried because what’s very clear is that there is the supply in the country for petrol but what is happening is that people are changing their normal buying habits.

“We’ve got people who don’t need to be filling up going to fill up because they’re panicking.

A sign outside a BP petrol station in Birmingham informing people that there is no fuel today (Tuesday, September 28)
A sign outside a BP petrol station informing people that there is no fuel today
(Image: PA)

“I’m blaming large sections of the media for whipping up what I think has been irresponsible claims and facts.

“I think that people have seen images of some petrol stations where there have been shortages of fuel, and then people have automatically thought that that applies across the board to every petrol station, and then that in turn has encouraged so many people to go and panic buy.

“So I think there are sections of the media who have got a lot to answer for.”

There is a shortage of drivers for fuel tankers, with 300 vacancies in a workforce of 3,500 at the moment.

The HGV driver shortage is not new, but has worsened recently. It is being blamed on multiple factors, including Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic, and unattractive pay and conditions.

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