Sunday, October 17, 2021

UK fuel shortage: Landlords may have to make space for hauliers

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Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Petrol retailers, such as this Arco garage in Manchester, have been hit hard by a shortage of vans and lorries in the past year

Drivers coming into the UK could hold on to their licences for longer, and bring in their pay slips at airports under the plans.

New measures will allow people who hold ‘e-documents’ to skip security checks and have them sent to the DVLA on their behalf.

Hiring a vehicle from abroad will be made easier, and more money sent to the UK from European paymasters could be invested in measures to combat the fuel shortage.

It is thought some retail outlets may have to close in order to free up parking.

Oil supplier Total has said lower domestic fuel supplies from Libya and elsewhere are to blame for the shortage.

Petrol retailers say the shortage has continued despite them paying drivers to sit outside in winter in a desperate attempt to get people into garages.

The proposals aim to address these problems, and will be on top of measures already being discussed, the British Trucking Association (BTA) has said.

Visa scheme

A visa scheme to ease the fuel shortage has been put forward by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The DVLA says holders of passports can add an electronic document to their licence, which will essentially be a “Y-visa” – but it will need to be approved in Brussels before it can be taken into the UK.

It is hoped this can be done on arrival in the UK and processed in two working days.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A truck driver stands at a British Gas petrol station in Bristol in January

Sorting out the paperwork may mean that it is not needed when the vitals checks for visas are done at the UK border.

Another proposal is to allow drivers from the EU, including the majority of Turkey, to bring in their pay slips while they are travelling through the UK.

The DVLA estimates this could generate £150m a year for the UK.

‘Vital to make sure it works’

“It’s important for the UK economy,” said BTA’s executive director Maik Johnson.

“There are over 100 million drivers who export goods and it’s vital to make sure it works.

“British companies are suffering because these are the men and women who transport the goods that we export all over the world.”

Merchant service fleets and firms which transport goods into the UK already do pay their employees in full on arrival, a Trade Union Congress spokesman said.

“There are no limits on the amount that can be paid out,” he added.

The DVLA is also seeking cross-party support to make sure the UK Border Force can get from the EU into the UK, and over to planes.

Ministers have drawn up plans to withdraw the Border Force’s operational headquarters from Gatwick Airport to replace it at RAF Northolt in London – but the Opposition have questioned the need for such a move.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said the change would create flexibility and allow for the border agency to perform more functions.

“We are not transferring power or control of the border between the UK and the EU. The ability to operate within the border security objective set by the European Union is given to Border Force,” she said.

“The secretary of state for the home department has set out her vision for a border security vision, so it’s not transfer of power, it’s transfer of function of substance – people at the border who are responsible for keeping people safe and secure.

“This is a border security vision and we are not moving the task of border control between the UK and the EU.”

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