Stop panic-buying petrol, says council

PANICKING motorists in the Dispatch district are being warned they could be putting lives at risk if they store petrol at home in a bid to beat a possible strike by fuel-tanker drivers.

Queueing vehicles caused chaos at filling-station forecourts in Hucknall and Bulwell as drivers flocked to the pumps after the government urged them to top up amid the threat of industrial action.

Now Notts County Council has appealed for calm and urged against taking the advice of government minister Francis Maude to keep an emergency fuel-supply in a jerry-can in the garage.

The Conservative-controlled council says unsafe and excessive storage of fuel poses a potentially deadly fire-risk.

Coun Mick Murphy (Con), of Hucknall, who is the county council’s lead member for community safety, said: “Panic-buying petrol is unnecessary and selling excessive amounts to people to store is irresponsible and illegal.

“We are writing to all licensed filling stations in the county to remind them that, under the terms of their licences, petrol retailers have a clear duty of care to their customers and to the wider public that they adhere to their petrol-licence conditions.

“They should not allow customers to exceed limits for petrol sold in containers and they should ensure that the containers themselves are appropriate and safe.”

The county council is working with the fire service to issue a joint warning to retailers and customers after reports that some drivers had been seen filling multiple containers of fuel at forecourts across the county.

Buying extra petrol should be limited to a maximum of 30 litres in two appropriate ten-litre metal containers and two appropriate five-litre plastic containers.

As yet, no date has been set for a strike. The Unite union, which represents the tanker drivers, is in talks over its members’ working conditions.

Seven days’ notice must be given before any walkout.