Fuel-hunting drivers lock down Merton area


Traffic gridlocked around Merantun Way’s Sainsbury’s petrol station this afternoon.


By Selina Ditta

Fuel-hunting drivers are locking down the Merton area and forcing ambulance services into making strategic plans in reaction to the crisis.

George Allen, of South West Cars on Merton High Street, said the firm usually transfers Tooting’s St George’s Hospital’s emergency patients back home.

Mr Allen said they had no work for the rest of the day due to the fear of running out of fuel.

He added: “The ambulances are only picking up the most serious of cases, like renal patients who might die without treatment. They don’t want to bring in less severe cases like broken arm patients today, in case they can’t be returned home.”

A spokesperson for St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust said: “We are conscious that a fuel strike could disrupt healthcare services as well as patient, staff and supplier transport so we are preparing accordingly for any adverse impact.  

“In line with the trust’s business continuity planning, a working group representing both acute and community services has had an initial meeting and is reviewing the trust’s fuel shortage plan.”

Traffic gridlocked around the Sainsbury’s Centre petrol station on Merantun Way this afternoon.

A Sainsbury’s cashier said queues had been horrendous and they had only two pumps remaining with super-unleaded petrol.

She said: “We’re going to be shutting shortly. We’ve run out of all diesel and ordinary unleaded. We haven’t had any notification of our next delivery.”

Around the same time, the Unite union ruled out any Easter tanker driver strikes and announced they would focus on talks about pay next week.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude incited drivers on Wednesday to buy jerry cans to fill up on petrol to deal with an impending tanker strike.

Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee tweeted: “Clever of Unite to ensure no Easter strike: leaves Maude looking even more foolish. No strike at all might finally finish him off.”

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