Northern Ireland news

No plans to use army to drive oil tankers amid fuel shortages

Cars queue at Tesco near Stanwell, Middlesex. Picture by Steve Parsons/PA Wire

THE government has "no plans at the moment" to use the army to drive petrol tankers amid continuing shortages at filling stations, the environment secretary has said.

George Eustice said there was not a shortage and called on motorists to stop "panic buying" petrol.

His comments came amid reports Boris Johnson was considering sending in troops to deliver fuel following days of long queues at pumps.

The Petrol Retailers Association last night said there were no issues in Northern Ireland.

Chairman Brian Madderson said there were plenty of HGV drivers and fuel in terminals in Derry and Belfast.

Seamus Leheny, of the freight trade body Logistics UK, added that "there simply isn't a problem here".

Earlier, Mr Eustice said: "We are bringing Ministry of Defence trainers in to accelerate some of the HGV training to clear a backlog of people who want to carry out those tests, and there's definitely a role there for the MoD.

"We've no plans at the moment to bring in the army to actually do the driving, but we always have a Civil Contingencies section within the army on standby - but we're not jumping to that necessarily at the moment."

Industry leaders warned drafting in the army will not on its own end the shortages.

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