UK govt 'failed' to end petrol crisis: trade body

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A workman re-fills the petrol storage tanks at a BP petrol station.
A workman re-fills the petrol storage tanks at a BP petrol station.
Anthony Devlin/AFP/File

The UK government has failed to end petrol shortages at the pumps, the head of a trade association for independent filling stations said Thursday, urging an independent probe.

Britain has seen more than two weeks of queues and panic-buying at petrol stations, particularly in London and southeast England, partly caused by a lack of EU lorry drivers post-Brexit.

"The recovery is simply not happening quickly enough," Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), said in a statement, blaming "failed government intervention and inappropriate prioritisation".

Madderson accused the UK government of failing to send enough petrol to the worst-affected areas accusing it of an "inept prioritisation policy".

He said the lesson to be drawn was that "however well-intentioned the government is... regrettably, officials do not have the ability nor the capacity to command and control a crisis such as this".

Madderson also called for an "independent inquiry into the crisis".

Around 12 percent of filling stations in London and southeast England are out of fuel, while 17 percent have only one type of fuel, he said.

By contrast, in less-affected regions, 90 percent of stations are stocked with two types of fuel, he added.

The government has urged people not to "panic buy" fuel.

Military drivers began delivering fuel to petrol stations on Monday.

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