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Stratford supermarket closes petrol station but motorists urged not to panic





MORRISONS petrol station in Stratford was closed this afternoon (Friday) as problems with fuel deliveries hit some supplies.

Morrisons was closed on Friday afternoon. (51572613)
Morrisons was closed on Friday afternoon. (51572613)

There were also reports of longer queues at the town’s Stratford Tesco petrol station on the Birmingham Road and at the Shell garage on Banbury Road.

One motorist at the Shell station in Stratford said: "It took me 15 minutes to fill up but I had no choice - my gauge was on zero. Friday afternoons are always busy but I think the scaremongering about a shortage of drivers and fuel supplies has caused this."

The queues have been forming at forecourts after concerns fuel supplies would run low because of a national shortage of HGV drivers and some closures of filling stations, including some run by Tesco and BP.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, tried to dissuade drivers from panic buying petrol, saying motorists should “carry on as normal”.

“The advice would be to carry on as normal, and that is what BP is saying as well,” he said.

Senior ministers were understood to be meeting on Friday afternoon to discuss possible solutions to the shortage of HGV drivers.

Queues at Tesco, Stratford, on Friday afternoon. (51572611)
Queues at Tesco, Stratford, on Friday afternoon. (51572611)

On Friday, BP said that around 20 of its 1,200 petrol forecourts were closed due to a lack of available fuel, with between 50 and 100 sites affected by the loss of at least one grade of fuel.

A “small number” of Tesco refilling stations have also been impacted, said Esso owner ExxonMobil, which runs the sites.

A spokesperson for Morrisons told the Herald: "It is a rapidly moving situation and we are working hard with our suppliers to ensure we can continue to keep all our pumps open and serve our customers."

Mr Shapps has also vowed to “move heaven and Earth” to make sure that lorries carry on moving goods and services and petrol around the country.

He denied that Brexit was the culprit in the UK’s recent shortage of lorry drivers, arguing that the split from the European Union has helped the government react.

“Not only are there very large and even larger shortages in other EU countries like Poland and Germany, which clearly can’t be to do with Brexit, but actually because of Brexit I’ve been able to change the law and alter the way our driving tests operate in a way I could not have done if we were still part of the EU,” he said.

“So, Brexit actually has provided part of the solution of giving more slots available for tests and there are a lot more, twice as many, tests available now than before the pandemic, a large proportion of those we’ve only been able to do because we are no longer in the EU.”

At a meeting a week ago BP reportedly told the government that the company was struggling to get fuel to its forecourts.

The AA has said that most of the UK’s forecourts are working as they should amid worries over supply of petrol at some sites.

“There is no shortage of fuel and thousands of forecourts are operating normally with just a few suffering temporary supply chain problems,” said AA president Edmund King.

“Fridays and the weekend always tend to be busier on forecourts as drivers either combine filling up with shopping runs, prepare for weekend trips or refuel for the start of the new working week.”



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