UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps on Friday downplayed threats of an escalating fuel deficit in the United Kingdom following the recent closure of several gas stations due to the shortage of tank truck drivers.
“The problem is not new. There has been a lack of drivers for many months through this pandemic because during the lockdown drivers couldn’t be passed through their lorry HGV tests, and that is what has led to this problem,” Shapps told Sky News broadcaster.
On Thursday, energy company British Petroleum announced that tens of forecourts in its 1,200-strong network were experiencing fuel shortages, while Tesco and Esso said some of their sites were also affected.
Although the transport secretary pointed at the COVID-19 pandemic as the only cause of the problem, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) also blamed Brexit for the truck driver shortage.
“We’re 100,000 driver short at the moment. We had a historic shortage of 60,000 but add to that the 20,000 European drivers who left the country because of Brexit,” RHA managing director of Policy and Public Affairs, Rod McKenzie, told BBC’s Breakfast show, adding that a further 40,000 trucker training tests were canceled during the pandemic.
Shapps said, however, that there is nothing to be worried about and motorists in the UK should carry on as normal, as more truck driving tests have already been made available.