Shortages at filling stations in Scotland are “more acute” than normal, the deputy first minister has conceded, though he insisted that the situation was “improving”.
John Swinney spoke out as the UK Government put 150 military drivers on stand-by to help deliver petrol and diesel to forecourts if needed.
He stressed the Scottish Government is monitoring the situation closely, with a meeting of its resilience group due to meet on Wednesday afternoon.
Local councils and emergency services will be represented at that meeting, Swinney said, as he indicated that if there was a “need to prioritise access for emergency personnel, we will take the steps to do that”.
However he added that this would have to be done “in consort with the United Kingdom government”.
Despite some stations having had to close after running out of fuel, and others having limited the amount drivers can put in their tanks, Swinney told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme that there is “an adequate supply of fuel to meet the normal levels of demand”.
But he added: “The whole question hinges on that being able to be distributed to where it is required.”
While he accepted there was a “mixed picture around the country” the Deputy First Minister said the position with regard to “fuel outages” was “more acute today than it would normally be”.
He insisted however that the situation is improving.
Swinney said the UK Government’s decision to put military drivers on stand by to deliver fuel “may well be helpful”.
However he stated: “There are other options available. The UK Government has access to additional tanker capacity that can be used should there be driver capacity available, and we obviously are looking at what are the options there and working closely with the distribution companies in Scotland as well.
“Distribution companies are working very hard to get the supplies out and are doing that, and are assuring us that is being done on the normal, sustained basis to the maximum of their capacity.
“So obviously as each day goes by where cars are already filled up with fuel – you can’t fill your car up any more if it is full already – obviously the replenishment into fuel stations will help to strengthen the position as each day goes by.
“I would just say to people to go about their normal patterns of activity. If we do that then there is plenty fuel and there is plenty of fuel distribution.”
Swinney said while there was “a certain amount of outage in certain filling stations” there were a number of forecourts that have “a perfectly adequate, normal supply”.
He stated: “That will be the position around the country. If we all stick to our normal purchasing patterns then I think we will be able to address the issues that are quite clearly causing the uncertainties for members of the public.”
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