Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack has condemned Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude for advising motorists to stockpile fuel cans ahead of a possible tanker strike.

Maude suggested that "a bit of extra fuel in a jerry can is a sensible precaution to take" during what he described as Unite general secretary Len McCluskey's "grand plan to bring the country to a halt".

However, the FBU say that any stockpiling of fuel could have "disastrous" consequences and massively increase fire and explosion risk.

Wrack added: "This is not sensible advice - the general public does not properly understand the fire and explosion risk of storing fuel even if it was done sensibly.

"Those without garages may be tempted to store fuel in the home. In the event of a fire in the house or a neighbouring property it would be disastrous. It is already against the law to store more than 10 litres of petrol in two proper 5 litre plastic containers in the home.

"There is a real danger the public will start storing fuel in inappropriate ways if the Government is encouraging panic buying and storage. This advice is wrong and must be withdrawn."

Prime Minister David Cameron broke away from a Downing Street press conference about the Olympics to defend the government's approach to the fuel tanker dispute describing it as "very calm, very sensible".

Some garages have reported people queuing to buy petrol already as leaders of the Unite union which represents 90 per cent of tanker drivers met today to discuss whether to accept a mediation offer from arbitration service Acas over minimum standards for pay, hours, holiday and redundancy.

Posted 28/03/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com