Traffic queues in Bognor Regis as motorists try to access petrol stations
Traffic queues have been appearing throughout Bognor Regis today (September 24) as drivers attempt to access petrol stations throughout the town.
Long queues have been reported near both Tesco and Sainsburys, both of which have petrol stations on Shripney Road.
Queues are also affecting traffic at one end of Chichester Road, as drivers jostle for access to the Esso garage.
The pile-ups follow news that a ‘handful’ of BP and Esso filling stations have closed due to a lack of fuel as the lorry driver shortage prompted by the pandemic hits national supply chains.
A spokesperson for Tesco told The Worthing Herald earlier today that the supermarket chain has “good availability of fuel, with deliveries arriving at our petrol filling stations across the UK everyday.”
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s expressed similar sentiments, adding: “There are no current issues (with supply). We’re closely monitoring the situation and working closely with our supplier to maintain fuel supply.”
Though more directly affected by the shortages, Esso owner ExxonMobil said the shortages have only affected a “small number” of its petrol stations, while central government has urged shoppers and motorists not to panic buy goods and fuel following news of the shortage.
Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association trade body told BBC Newsnight: “We have a shortage of 100,000 (drivers). When you think that everything we get in Britain comes on the back of a lorry- whether its fuel or food or clothes or whatever it is- at some point if there are no drivers to drive those trucks, the trucks aren’t moving and we’re not getting our stuff.
“I don’t think we are talking about absolutely no fuel or food or anything like that, people shouldn’t panic buy food or fuel or anything else. That’s not what this is about.”
Sussex Police have also commented on the issue, emphasising the need to make way for emergency vehicles:
“Keeping highways clear is essential for emergency services to respond to incidents,” the tweet reads. “And hindering them poses a serious public health risk.”
A Facebook post by Arun Police earlier today made a similar plea: “Traffic has been building all day at each of the big supermarkets selling fuel and at garages around Arun with queues backing onto roads and causing congestion.
“We are asking all drivers (to) please stick to normal buying behaviour and keep highways clear.”