Heating fuel being delivered across Scotland

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The Scottish Government has today taken further steps to ensure that essential fuel deliveries are maintained throughout the continuing freeze. A relaxation on the enforcement of drivers’ hours rules for drivers involved in fuel deliveries has been extended for a further period into the New Year.

Working with fuel suppliers and local agencies the Scottish Government has also introduced a seven point plan to ensure heating fuel supplies go on reaching those most in need.

The protocol on deliveries has been agreed between the Scottish Government, the eight Strategic Coordinating Groups (SCGs) – which are made up of police forces and other front line responders – and the Heating Fuel Distributors through the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers in Scotland.

The plan will see:

* All groups working together to ensure that in the current weather conditions customers do not face the prospect of running out of fuel. A ‘vulnerable customer’ list, will be compiled to assist distributors in the prioritisation of heating fuel delivery;

* local authority roads departments and SCG representatives will liaise with Fuel Distributors to improve access where necessary to properties or through the provision of alternative transport options – such as using 4×4 vehicles where possible;

* SCGs to liaise directly with Scottish and Sothern Energy (SSE) to facilitate delivery of electric heaters to those ‘vulnerable customers’ where heating fuel deliveries are not possible;

* Customers who are identified as ‘dry’ but not identified as ‘vulnerable’ will be encouraged to contact their regular fuel distributor to take advantage of an ’emergency collection service,’ now available at all heating fuel distribution depots.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said:

“Thanks to drivers going that extra mile, we know that vital heating fuel supplies are reaching those who need it across the country.

“We have already secured a relaxation of the enforcement of regulations governing how long delivery drivers can stay behind the wheel to make that happen.

“But, given the extreme weather Scotland has experienced, we know there are also some localised issues and that some people are still awaiting deliveries.

“That is why we are acting to help ensure that heating supplies are delivered by the heating companies to those most in need.”

“Working with the key groups, such as councils, police and the fuel distributors themselves, we are now deploying a detailed, seven point plan across Scotland, which will help heating fuel deliveries get through the snow and ice, and ensure those people who need it most, get their deliveries first.”

Background

The Department for Transport has agreed to an extension of the temporary, emergency relaxations of the enforcement of EU drivers’ hours and working-time rules for hauliers involved directly in the distribution of fuel oil, liquid natural gas and petroleum related products in Great Britain. The relaxation begins at 00.00 on 27 December 2010 and runs until 23.59 on 10 January 2011 and applies only to those drivers involved in the distribution of fuel in Great Britain.

Full seven point protocol is as follows:

This protocol has been agreed between Scottish Government, the eight Strategic Coordinating Groups (SCGs) in Scotland and the Heating Fuel Distributors through the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers in Scotland. The Protocol applies to heating fuels, including Kerosene, LPG and LNG The Protocol is designed to ensure that users of heating fuel have sufficient supply over the Christmas period. In the current weather conditions, it is agreed that no customer should face the prospect of running out of fuel.

Nothing in this protocol should inhibit or restrict SCGs in the development of good practice local solutions to local issues. This protocol is simply a template upon which, SCGs and Distributors may wish to develop these solutions.

1. Fuel Distributors will provide SCG’s (or identified Local Authority Emergency Planning representatives) with a list of ‘dry customers’ (some distributors will also be able to identify vulnerable customers from local knowledge or indeed focus their list on the % of customers they have been unable to reach due to inaccessibility)

2. SCG will liaise with and share the list provided by the Distributors with the Local Authority Social Work Department who will compare the list against their various lists of ‘vulnerable people’ in the community (to augment this approach, Local Authority Care Workers (Social Work and Health) may also assist in the identification of vulnerable people in the community by highlighting individuals they are aware of who are running low in heating fuel. This information can be added to the list of ‘vulnerable customers’ being compiled by Social Work

3. Social Work/Roads Department and SCG representatives will then liaise in order to compile a definitive ‘vulnerable customer’ list, which will be used to assist the Distributors in the prioritisation of heating fuel delivery

4. Local Authority Roads Departments and SCG representatives will liaise with Fuel Distributors in order to prioritise those people on the ‘vulnerable customer’ list through improving access to properties or through the provision of alternative transport options (e.g. access to 4×4 voluntary schemes, where these schemes are in operation)

5. If it is still not possible to provide heating fuel, the SCG will liaise direct with Scottish and Sothern Electricity (SSE) in order to facilitate the delivery of electric heaters to those ‘vulnerable customers’

6. Those customers who are identified as ‘dry’ but not identified as ‘vulnerable’ will be encouraged to contact their regular fuel distributor to take advantage of the ’emergency collection service,’ which is now available at all heating fuel distribution depots (customers can collect up to 5 x 25 litre cubes by utilising this service through their regular supplier)

7. Statistics on the outcome of local prioritisation arrangements should be provided to SGoRR by SCGs on a regular (frequency to be determined) basis. SCGs should also alert SGoRR where ultimately no resolution can be found at local level.

In addition, in the present weather circumstances, there may be difficulties with the availability of spare parts for heating equipment. The organisations involved will work to ensure that any user who is unable to heat their home this Christmas due to a failure of the system will have access to temporary support for heating.