Suffolk drivers urged to consider NHS staff and key workers when queuing for fuel
Drivers are being urged to remain sensible and consider their journeys to avoid long queues for fuel to allow key workers to get the fuel they require.
Beccy Hopfensperger, cabinet member for adult care at Suffolk County Council, is asking people to consider NHS workers when queueing for fuel.
Petrol station forecourts have been lined with queues this week after initial fears of an impending fuel crisis last Thursday.
“I received a phone call from drivers on Friday to say that they were either stuck in queues or have not got any fuel to get to those people [they care for]. I thought this absolutely terrible,” she said.
“So I tweeted on Friday, which got a phenomenal response because workers can’t get to the essential appointments. If it stops one person from panic buying fuel, it would have made a big difference.”
A £30 cap was introduced by the EG Group at their petrol stations to help contain the panic-buying, while NHS staff and key workers were offered their own pump in some forecourts.
Cllr Hopfensperger praised petrol station staff for managing to prioritise key workers.
She added: “They are trying to do their best [to keep queues flowing], while others are going down the line prioritising key workers to get them fuel.”
However, she is hoping drivers will consider the needs of key workers, with the demand for fuel likely to continue in the coming days.
“I still think it will take a few days to get back to normal, so think about wherever you need to go to use the fuel.”
A West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson joined Cllr Hopfensperger in urging drivers to consider key workers.
They said: “Many of our staff across the county rely on their vehicles to deliver vital healthcare to the sick and the vulnerable, so we would ask everyone to be responsible and buy fuel as normal.”
Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: “While there is no fuel shortage at the refineries and storage areas, and the fuel industry expects demand will return to normal levels in the coming days, it is right that we take sensible, precautionary steps."
She added that the government have put a limited number of military tanker drivers on standby to help ease pressures.
Mrs Churchill said this would prevent further disruption, but is urging people to only refuel if needed.