Government confusion over petrol advice

Petrol pump panic
Petrol pump panic Photo: Reuters

Queues have appeared at some petrol pumps after mixed messages from the Government over a possible fuel strike.

Downing Street denied it had encouraged motorists to hoard fuel after a briefing to the media yesterday.

But this morning Cabinet Minister Francis Maude said it would be a "sensible precaution" to keep a "little bit of fuel in a jerry can in the garage".

However David Cameron told people there was 'no need to queue.' The Prime Minister also said that a strike by tanker drivers would be 'completely irresponsible.'

Esso has 900 sites it reported "increased demand in some areas" and told us "some sites may be temporarily out of one or two types of fuel". We have spoken to one Esso service station (in Wilmslow near Manchester) that was closed today.

Fire brigades reacted angrily to the advice and have reminded people about the dangerous of storing petrol in their homes.

The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) added its warning against storing large amounts of fuel in garages, due to the increased risks to occupiers and firefighters.

Dave Curry, CFOA prevention and protection director, highlighted the following legal requirements for keeping fuel at home:

  • do not fill a container more than the capacity printed on the label
  • do not store petrol inside a domestic premises
  • store petrol in a place that is not part of or attached to a building used as a dwelling
  • you can store up to 30 litres of petrol in two appropriate 10 litre metal containers and two appropriate five litre plastic containers.
  • you can store up to 30 litres of petrol in two appropriate 10 litre metal containers and two appropriate five litre plastic containers.
Petrol pumps
Petrol pumps Credit: Reuters

Conciliation service Acas have been asked to work with Unite union and hauliers to try and avoid industrial action.

Fuel tanker drivers voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over terms and conditions and safety standards bringing the threat of a strike a step closer.

Around 2,000 members of Unite, working for seven different companies, were balloted, with those at five firms backing walkouts.