British army still delivering petrol as EU truckers shun visas
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Recent reports from the RHA and Logistics UK indicate that Britain's driver shortage is on the wane. However, despite this, a response to a written parliamentary question has revealed that as many as 137 military staff were still being used as HGV drivers as recently as last week. Meanwhile, a Home Office minister has confirmed that only a “couple of hundred” HGV driver visas have actually been used.
The military were drafted in by the UK Government in early October to help restore supplies of fuel to petrol stations across the country.
Although this was just a temporary measure, and the fuel crisis abated some time ago, Byline times has found that 137 army drivers are still being used “in support to the energy sector for the distribution of fuel”. In addition, more army staff are being used as driving test examiners to help get more new truckers qualified and ready to hit the road.
The information comes from a government statement in response to to a written parliamentary question.
Meanwhile, immigration minister Kevin Foster revealed at an Efra committee meeting on Tuesday that only a “couple of hundred” HGV driver visas have been used up from the 5,000 that were made available to truckers with EU or EEA licences.
However, despite the low take up of visas, the number of European truckers delivering goods on British roads has likely increased since the summer – thanks to the government’s cabotage relaxations.
The controversial change, which was introduced in October to avoid supply chain chaos at Christmas, has allowed European hauliers to do as many domestic trips in the UK as they like within a two-week period. Lithuanian haulage giant Girteka Logistics has been among those taking advantage of the cabotage extension, which is to last until the end of March.