image source, BBC Newsimage captionA BP garage showing out of use signs today in Sherbourne

BP has warned it has had to "temporarily" close some of its petrol stations due to a shortage of lorry drivers.

The oil firm said only "a handful" of sites were affected by the fuel supply issues due to a lack of unleaded and diesel fuel.

There are around 1,200 BP branded petrol stations around the UK, of which 300 are operated by BP themselves.

The company said it was working hard to address the issues.

Supply chain delays had been 'impacted by industry wide driver shortages across the UK' and that the company was working hard to address the issues, BP said in a statement.

'We continue to work with our haulier supplier to minimise disruption and to ensure efficient and effective deliveries', the company added.

Other petrol station operators have been approached by the BBC for comment.

The temporary closures come just months after BP had to close a "handful" of its UK sites in July because of lorry driver shortages. At the time, BP said its supply chain issues had also been exacerbated by the closure of a distribution terminal due to staff being told to isolate.

image source, Getty Images

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents petrol station operators across the UK, said that some sites across the UK were seeing delivery delays, but that they were largely confined to London and the South-East, and were 'temporary by nature'.

Gordon Balmer from the PRA said that petrol station closures were rare, and that the fuel supply chain was resilient enough to cope.

"Fuel demand is still only at 92% of pre-pandemic levels so we believe there should be ample stock available at refineries and delivery terminals throughout the UK", said Mr Balmer.

Many businesses have been complaining about the UK's shortage of lorry drivers, which is still causing serious supply chain problems.

The coronavirus pandemic, Brexit and tax changes have all contributed to a lack of qualified drivers. Industry bodies estimate there is a shortfall of about 100,000 workers.

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