The Somerset Guardian, 6th October 2021

This week, the Transport and Business Secretaries jointly wrote to Members of Parliament (MPs) to give them an update on the current fuel supply issues.

The Ministers assured MPs that, contrary to what is being reported in the media, we have ample fuel stocks and the public should be reassured that there are no shortages at the refineries or storage areas. Like many other countries, the United Kingdom (UK) is experiencing a temporary, Covid-related shortage of drivers needed to transport supplies.

The Government has been managing this situation for some time in the fuel sector. However, unprecedented demand in recent days has seen many forecourts affected, including local ones although they now seem to be returning to normal. While the fuel industry is confident that demand is expected to return to its usual level soon it is right that the Government has taken precautionary steps, including relaxing competition law to aid fuel re-supply, authorising temporary extensions to the validity of drivers’ specialist certification related to the transport of fuel and providing military drivers to assist.

The Ministers are also working hard to address the shortages in the wider heavy goods vehicle (HGV) road haulage sector. It is important to note that this is an issue affecting all of Europe – and indeed beyond – largely as a result of coronavirus and the impact this has had on our ability to conduct HGV driving tests. The challenges presented caused by the HGV driver shortage are serious and the Government is working across Departments and with the industry to address these issues.

Ultimately, the fastest way back to normality is a return to normal purchasing patterns which will happen when people are confident that there is available supply.  This will begin a virtuous circle, which will see supply and demand match.  Fortunately, Somerset is returning to normal faster than some other parts of the country.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance: jacob.reesmogg.mp@parliament.uk.