'No risk' to vital Lancashire County Council services from fuel delivery crisis
Lancashire County Council says that there is no threat to the essential services it provides because of ongoing fuel delivery issues nationwide caused by a shortage of tanker drivers.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that some of the authority’s Travelcare vehicles – which transport elderly residents to day centres and some children with special needs and disabilities to school – have been kept on the road using reserves usually held to power the council’s highways fleet.
County Hall has also revealed that none of the third party contractors which supply care packages on its behalf have alerted the authority to any difficulties they are facing as a result of the crisis, which has been exacerbated by a wave of panic-buying – including in Central Lancashire – even though the country is not short of fuel.
Lancashire County Council leader Phillippa Williamson said: “A number of our services are delivered using the county council’s vehicle fleet, as well as by people using their own vehicles – and we have been monitoring the situation very closely over recent days.
“We have well-tested plans for these situations so we protect delivery of our critical services. We are also making sure there is no disruption to the journeys to day care for older people, and journeys to school, which are provided by our Travelcare service.
“Fortunately we have not been made aware of any significant issues with the delivery of services across the county council and expect this to continue as the situation returns to normal,” County Cllr Williamson said.
Details of how County Hall is coping emerged as the government announced that the nation’s fleet of reserve tankers is being deployed. Although that fleet is driven by civilians, it was reported on Wednesday afternoon that soldiers could soon be contributing to the fuel distribution effort.
Earlier this week, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea urged the government to “take control” of the situation.
“It’s no good ministers wasting time on a pointless blame game or pretending there’s no problem.
“Essential staff must be able to get to their jobs so they can continue to provide the services so many rely upon.
“Ambulance crews, nurses, care workers, teaching assistants, police staff and other key workers mustn’t be left stranded or forced to queue for hours simply to get to a pump,” Ms. McAnea said.