Tuesday, September 27, 2022

UK suspends competition law to tackle fuel crisis

The British government on Sunday evening temporarily suspended parts of a competition law as the country grapples with a fuel crisis triggered by lorry driver shortages and panic.

Trade, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Quasi Quarteng made the decision on Sunday after addressing another day of constant queues for pumps with oil companies and retailers, with thousands of petrol stations running dry.

Exemption from the Competition Act 1998 to industry with the aim of optimizing information sharing and supply – a measure known as the Downstream Oil Protocol – allows companies to more easily prioritize the delivery of fuel to certain parts of the country and to strategic locations. will allow. most needed.

Quarteng said the UK has “long-standing contingency plans” in place to maintain the supply and delivery of fuel in emergency situations.

“While there has always been and continues to be a lot of fuel at refineries and terminals, we know there are some problems with the supply chain,” the business secretary said in a statement.

“That’s why we’ll be implementing the Downstream Oil Protocol to make sure [the] Industries can share important information and work together more effectively to reduce disruption.”

Lorry driver shortage UK fuel crisis petrol station
Cars line up at Tesco near Stanwell, Middlesex, England on September 27, 2021. (Steve Parsons/PA)

Brian Maderson, president of the Petrol Retailers Association, said on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program on Monday that the measure was “very welcome” but “complicated”.

Maderson said the problem of dry pumps is much worse in concentrated urban areas rather than rural areas.

The dry sites are “currently being restored but the number of tankers to be received is as follows [sic] The numbers are less than what they need to recover to their normal levels between 40 percent and 50 percent,” he said.

Maderson said a temporary suspension of competition rules would “probably” [allow] suppliers to pour fuel into their competitors’ sites.”

Regarding the cause of the crisis, Maderson put most of the blame on an information leak that ignited a fuel panic.

“This is a problem caused by someone who leaked a confidential BP submission to a cabinet meeting about 10 days ago. “We had the problem of the lack of HGVs with drivers getting fuel tankers in the forecourt,” Maderson told “BBC Breakfast”, but at that stage it was not a serious situation.

“The fact that he or she leaked, circulated the document caused panic in the main urban centers in the UK.”

Madderson said the government needs to fix the “ridiculous” speed of processing driver applications as a long-term solution, but the short-term crisis can be solved by customers.

“If they start buying in their usual quantity, £20 [$27] Price, to fill 20 liters every week, we can return to some normalcy by the end of this week – it will not be perfect, but some return,” he said.

It was reported on Monday that some workers, including self-employed traders and doctors, are unable to go to work as they could not fill their vehicles.

Environment Secretary George Eustice told media outlets on Monday that there is no shortage of fuel and that the shortage of HGV drivers is “quite limited.”

Eustice said there was no shortage of fuel and blamed motorists for filling up when they didn’t need it, with some petrol stations running dry.

“The reason for these current problems is panic-shopping episodes and most importantly, people start buying petrol,” he said in a clip for broadcasters.

“There comes a point – as we saw during a previous episode of panic during the pandemic over food – where things settle down and people get used to it and go back to normal life again,” he said. .

“The sooner people do this the better. The only reason we don’t have petrol in the courtyard is because people are buying petrol they don’t need.”

PA contributed to this report.

lily zhou

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Lily Zhou is a freelance writer, mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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