DRIVERS queued up at petrol stations across north Essex after concerns were raised about fuel deliveries.

Queues have already been reported at supermarket petrol stations across Colchester, Clacton and Harwich this morning. 

The rush to get petrol has sparked long queues across the areas with many people stuck in standstill traffic. 

One resident said: "There is standstill traffic at pretty much every petrol station in Clacton.

"It took about 30 minutes to get petrol It’s chaos and crazy."

They said staff had told them there was no shortage of fuel. 

Gazette: Queues at Clacton Asda petrol station todayQueues at Clacton Asda petrol station today

At the Tesco store in Highwoods, Colchester, there are queues leading up to the shop along Highwoods Approach and onto Ipswich Road. 

Staff at the petrol station are helping to direct cars near the petrol station to try and keep traffic moving. 

Gazette: The scene outside Highwoods Tesco this afternoonThe scene outside Highwoods Tesco this afternoon

Motorists and shoppers have been urged not to panic buy fuel and goods as the shortage of lorry drivers hit supplies.

Ministers faced fresh pressure to ease immigration rules as an emergency measure to attract HGV drivers from overseas amid warnings that 100,000 more were needed across the industry.

Read more >> BP apologise as petrol stations close across UK amid lorry driver shortage

BP said a “handful” of its filling stations are closed due to a lack of fuel available, while Esso owner ExxonMobil also said a “small number” of its Tesco Alliance petrol forecourts have been impacted.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested adding HGV drivers to the skilled worker list for immigration purposes would not solve the problem, although he insisted he nothing had been ruled out.

The issues around petrol supply, on top of problems in the food industry and rising gas prices have led to warnings the government faces a “winter of discontent”.

Gazette: AA's traffic map shows long delays across routes in Clacton this morningAA's traffic map shows long delays across routes in Clacton this morning

A combination of factors including Brexit leading to the loss of European Union drivers, the pandemic preventing driving tests and systemic problems in the industry relating to pay and conditions have led to the shortage of qualified HGV drivers.

Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association trade body accused ministers of “government by inertia”, allowing the situation to get “gradually worse” in recent months.

“We have got a shortage of 100,000 (drivers),” he told BBC’s Newsnight. “When you think that everything we get in Britain comes on the back of a lorry – whether it’s fuel or food or clothes or whatever it is – at some point, if there are no drivers to drive those trucks, the trucks aren’t moving and we’re not getting our stuff.”