A petrol group has slammed DECC for failing to prepare properly for disruption to the fuel supply chain, warning the consequences of a planned strike by tanker drivers could have been avoided.
Fuel tanker drivers from the union Unite voted in favour of strike action on Monday in a dispute over pay and terms and conditions.
The Retail Motor Industry (RMI Petrol), which represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, points the finger at DECC for letting too many petrol station forecourts close over the last decade. It says this means there is less storage for petrol, possibly 40% less space for petrol stocks at forecourts than a decade ago.
RMI Petrol argues: “DECC has been heavily criticised by RMI Petrol for their unaccountable failure to prepare properly for potential supply chain disruption. This is now acutely probable following news of an upcoming strike by Unite tanker drivers.”
The group was sceptical plans for replacement Army drivers could cope with the scale of a strike.
“The Government has ordered the Army to train drivers to maintain fuel deliveries and whilst this is potentially welcome it has been proposed without any prior consultation with industry. Just 300 Army drivers cannot possibly replace 2,000 striking civilian drivers,” RMI Petrol said a statement.
Today Energy Secretary Ed Davey will meet with haulier bosses to discuss contingency plans.