Scotland isolated from gasoline crisis

April 2, 2012 at 8:53 AM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, April 2 (UPI) -- There's no need for panic in Scotland amid concerns that tanker drivers in the United Kingdom are planning to go on strike, the government announced.

The British government last week was criticized for advising motorists of a potential fuel shortage because of a looming strike by tanker drivers. The statement sparked panic as drivers rushed to top off gasoline tanks.

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said the blame for the panic "lies squarely" with the British government. The decision by Scottish drivers to buy gasoline only when they need it meant the region had adequate supplies, he said.

Fuel demand in Scotland increased about 10 percent last week while demand in Britain spiked as much as 170 percent, Swinney said.

"It is the job of government to plan for contingencies and to respond proportionately to circumstances on the ground," he said. "That is what the Scottish government will continue to do."

Talks between fuel tanker companies and drivers are scheduled for this week. Drivers want better safety and training standards. They deliver 90 percent of the fuel to British gasoline stations.

"While individuals and businesses have been let down by U.K. ministers we will continue to listen to calmer voices in the industry," said Swinney.

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