BP closes filling stations as HGV driver shortage hits deliveries

Fuel giant warns of supply issues at some locations as lorry driver crisis affects its haulier

Fuel retailer BP has had to close some filling stations due to supply issues caused by the HGV driver shortage.

The petrol giant said that a “handful” of its 1,200 sites were being closed temporarily due to problems delivering fuel around the country.

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The move comes after the firm warned the Government last week it would have to ration fuel supplies to its sites if the shortage of drivers wasn’t urgently addressed.

It is understood that BP is prioritising deliveries to motorway locations as it tries to address the issue.

In a statement it said: “We are experiencing fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK and unfortunately have therefore seen a handful of sites temporarily close due to a lack of both unleaded and diesel grades.

“These have been caused by delays in the supply chain, which has been impacted by industry-wide driver shortages across the UK, and we are working hard to address this issue.”

Last week BP’s head of UK retail Hanna Hofer told MPs that BP had two-thirds of normal forecourt stock levels and the level was “declining rapidly”. She added that it would have to look at rationing supplies “very soon” if the lack of delivery drivers was not addressed.

The shortage of lorry drivers has already hit services across the country, with supermarkets and other retailers reporting empty shelves and product shortages because they can’t get deliveries.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has said there is a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers, from a pre-Covid total of around 600,000.

Covid and a lack of driving tests has had an impact on the number of drivers, as has Brexit, which made it harder for HGV drivers from the EU to work in the UK.

Some retailers, believed to include BP, have asked the Government to add HGV drivers to its skills shortage jobs list, to allow EU workers to fill the shortfall, however this has been rejected.

The Petrol Retailers Association, which represents independent forecourts across the UK, said some locations were experiencing supply delays, particularly those in London and south-east England.