'It's madness': Queues block north London roads amid petrol shortage
Sally Patterson and Estelle Nilsson-Julien
- Credit: Estelle Nilsson
National petrol shortages are causing north London gas stations to turn away customers, with queues for fuel blocking roads across the area.
At Tesco Esso Express in Camden Road, bollards have been placed in front of the hoses to prevent cars from filling up. Staff would not comment on when the station would reopen.
On Haverstock Hill, staff told the Ham&High that there was no petrol at present, but a delivery is expected at 4pm. Cars are continuing to use the diesel pumps.
On Sunday (September 27), a man was arrested following reports that a man had allegedly been assaulted at the BP station in Belsize Park.
Muswell Hill resident Adam Hartley said he had tried to fill up his car at five different stations yesterday and is back on the hunt this morning.
He told the Ham&High: "It's madness, I've driven around London and nowhere has fuel. I think it's a result of Brexit and people panic-buying.
"I even heard a woman was putting petrol into a Tesco bag for life."
The father-of-two said he received a torrent of angry messages after asking where to find petrol on a community Facebook group.
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"It just amused me, how an innocent post asking for advice received so many angry responses," he said. "And I still haven't got any petrol."
Queuing at Finchley Road's BP, van driver Allan said: "I've been to two petrol stations this morning. I went to the station near The Wellington hospital in St John’s Wood but it was sold out.
"I then tried the one in Kentish Town which people were queueing at even though it was closed."
Staff at the Swiss Cottage petrol station said they had enough fuel to last "a few more hours".
Uber Eats driver Lee told the Ham&High: "They usually have petrol canisters but not at the moment so I’m having to come here.
"I went to Belsize Park, Kilburn and Kentish Town petrol stations before coming here. It’s disrupting my day."
At Haverstock Hill's BP, a van driver said his company were unable to use their vans because of the shortage.
Ben, who works for a local cleaning company, said: "We are struggling to get all our vans out as lots of them are petrol and can’t fill up. We are having to drive old diesel ones that aren’t usually in use."
Crouch End writer and campaigner David Winskill reported that, at midday today, there was a queue of traffic stretching from the Co-op garage on Tottenham Lane to the Clocktower in Crouch End.
He said: "I counted a dozen buses at a standstill as well as an emergency NHS ambulance and a couple of utility vehicles.
"There didn’t actually seem much of a queue outside the Coop, who had given a Hi Vis to a shop worker who was going her best to marshal the traffic, there were only half a dozen cars desperate to fill their tanks and were blocking both sides of the highway.
"There was a similar queue in the opposite direction on the route from Hornsey."
A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We have tried and tested plans in place, and therefore we have no current issues with accessing fuel for our frontline vehicles.”
They said that no reports have been flagged of ambulances not being able to get through roads blocked by traffic.
On Saturday (September 25), there was a queue for one working unleaded pump on North Hill in Highgate.
Nationally, some petrol brands are seeing up to 90% of their sites running dry, according to the Petrol Retailers Association.
Executive director Gordon Balmer told LBC: “We did a straw poll yesterday morning of a number of our members who have around 200 sites between them.
“Fifty per cent of those we spoke to said their sites were dry and some actually said 90 per cent of their sites were dry, so it is on a company-by-company basis and almost on a brand-by-brand basis because some oil companies are still relatively okay in terms of deliveries.”
Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West tweeted a video of traffic on Saturday, saying there were "queues miles long and horns honking".