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Fire services in the Thames Valley are urging people not to store petrol in case we have a fuel tanker driver strike because it's such a fire risk.
Olaf Baars, Deputy Chief Fire Officer at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:
“Petrol is an extremely dangerous, highly flammable, explosive and toxic substance.
"There are laws governing its storage, which require that only very small quantities of petrol are kept in appropriate containers and in a well ventilated, secure building away from your house.
“Our concern is that people may underestimate the dangers and store increased quantities of petrol unsafely, which could lead to devastating fires and even loss of life.”
In Hampshire, police say a couple of stations have closed voluntarily because people had been unnecessarily rushing to purchase fuel.
“There is currently no problem with fuel supplies reaching petrol stations in Hampshire and therefore we would urge all motorists to continue as normal with their fuel purchases, there is no need to stock up.
"Misinformation that is being spread online and through word of mouth has the potential to engender panic buying - so it is in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy when there really isn't an issue at this current time.”
Meanwhile the AA based in Basingstoke say increased sales of fuel from panic buying by motorists yesterday will bring in more than £32 million in extra fuel excise duty, it was revealed.
The AA calculated the figure after news that petrol sales shot up by 81% and diesel by 43% as motorists flocked to garages across the UK to fill up ahead of a possible strike by fuel tanker drivers.
AA president Edmund King said: “There is no fuel tanker strike and therefore if drivers followed normal fuel buying patterns there would be no fuel shortage whatsoever.
“We now have self-inflicted shortages due to poor advice about topping up the tank and hoarding in jerry cans. This in turn has led to localised shortages, queues and some profiteering at the pumps.''
Talks over the fuel tanker drivers dispute will not be held before Monday, the conciliation service Acas said today.
For more information about storing petrol, visit the Health and Safety Executive website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/petroleum-faqs.htm