The Great British Sunday is a rush to the pumps not the piers
- Credit: Nicky Still
Thousands are spending their Sunday in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire not queuing for a seaside car park but for fuel.
Across Wisbech, March, Whittlesey, Littleport, Ely and Soham the hunt has been on for a service station that is both open and has supplies of petrol and diesel.
Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said if motorists only fill up their cars with fuel when needed, then there would be no need for the type of queues currently being seen at petrol pumps.
Speaking to Sky News today (Sunday, September 26), the cabinet minister said: "I think the important thing to know is that within the country, at the six refineries and 47 storage facilities, there is plenty of fuel, there is no shortage of fuel within the country.
"So, the most important thing is actually that if people carry on as they normally would and fill up their cars when they normally would, then you won't have queues and you won't have shortages at the pump either.”
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The words have fell on deaf ears with many venting their anger at multiple targets for creating the panic.
Arbuckles on the A10 posted a photo of an empty restaurant today, blaming queues at the next-door filling station for blocking access.
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“The queue for petrol at the garage across the front of Arbuckles at Downham is preventing access in to our restaurant at the moment,” they posted to Facebook.
“You can get in to Arbuckles by turning into the garden centre entranced car park and coming through to the Arbuckles car park the back way.”
In March there were queues at the BP station in Dartford Road and some reported a tanker had arrived – prompting a dash to the pumps.
At Tesco in Hostmoor many however reported it petrol pumps were locked and closed.
There were warnings, too, of queuing along the A10 between Littleport and Ely as motorists waiting patiently to drive on the service station forecourt.
In Ely one man said all 12 filling stations on his commute to work today had run oiut of fuel.
“When I finally found one I had to queue for 30 minutes,” he said. “ Finally got to my precious diesel pump only to realise it was hgv pump and it wouldn't fit .
“I was raging.”
Sainsbury’s in Ely, like some other supermarkets, was stewarding the queues to the pumps.
“I only wanted to pop in to collect a prescription,” said one reader.
Rupert Moss-Eccardt pointed out that “the fuel queue was being sent through and around the undercover carpark o keep the queue off Lisle Lane.
“This was to avoid the risk of pedestrians crossing between moving cars. The police don't have enough people to cope.”
Fenland Police tried to ease tensions, and put a smile on faces, with a post entitled ‘fuel for thought’
They posted to their Facebook page: “With all the issues with fuel and people panic buying (there is no need to!!).
“Over at Fencops, we have come up with a unique idea to avoid the traffic and save on fuel!
“Just attach a balloon 🎈to your car 🚗; it’s not a lot of hot air and we may be onto something here. Certainly, makes for a dramatic entrance!
“Ok, it’s not April Fool's Day just a great timed photo.”
They added: “In all seriousness, there is no need to panic and buy fuel for the sake of it.
“Rest assured, there is no shortage of fuel and please keep yourselves safe when out on the road.”
A Cambs Times reader got in touch to say he had emailed Fenland Council (he didn’t know where else to send his complaint).
He said he had lost wages by not being able to get fuel. He cannot work since he doesn’t have enough diesel.
“I feel like I’m losing out all because a petrol station hasn't got fuel. Everyone in panic buying.”