THE PANIC buying which has gripped the nation’s motorists has spread to Skegness, as this video of queueing traffic early this morning shows.
Motorists in the town began panic buying yesterday after it emerged that the union Unite may choose to strike over the working conditions, pay, pensions and safety of petrol tanker drivers in the UK.
News that government ministers were considering training up armed forces personnel to act as tanker driver replacements during any potential strike only fuelled the panic. When government cabinet ministers advised drivers to top up their tanks, those concerns grew further.
And the panic came to a head on Tuesday when Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude told drivers to fill up jerry cans with fuel, for storage at home in case of strike action.
That statement has been roundly condemned by firefighters and the government’s political opponents, who argue it is extremely dangerous, and has only helped to make fears of panic buying a self-fulfilling profecy. But despite the government distancing itself from the minister’s comments, motorists are continuing to flock to the pumps in Skegness.
At 8.45am on Thursday morning cars were already queueing at the Tesco petrol station in Richmond Drive.
And at nearby Morrisons, motorists squeezed their vehicles onto a packed forecourt, with some cars also queueing in the road.
Prime Minister David Cameron, meanwhile, said there was no need for panic as Unite would need to give seven days’ notice before any strike could begin.
He said: “There is no imminent strike. The unions would have to give seven days notice of any strike so there is no need to queue to buy petrol.
But he went on to add that: “if there is an opportunity to top up your tank if a strike is potentially on the way, then it is a sensible thing if you are able to do that.”
The Fire Brigades Union meanwhile, has urged the public not to heed Francis Maude’s earlier calls for people to fill jerry cans with petrol.
Matt Wrack, the union’s general secretary, said: “This is not sensible advice and people should be discouraged from doing so.
“The general public does not properly understand the fire and explosion risk of storing fuel - even if it was done sensibly.
“Those without garages may be tempted to store fuel in the home. In the event of a fire in the house or a neighbouring property, it would be disastrous.
“It is already against the law to store more than 10 litres of petrol in two five-litre plastic containers in the home.
“As that amounts to little more than a third of a tank in most cars, the advice is of little practical help.
“There is a real danger the public will start storing fuel in inappropriate ways if the Government is encouraging panic buying and storage.
“This advice is wrong and must be withdrawn.”