It started with some irate lorry drivers in France and ended up nearly bringing the UK to its knees In September, petrol shortage became as emotive an issue as having no bread or water. Peter Power reviews the lessons.
The fuel crisis caused significant losses for some companies. The ensuing disruption affected virtually all. What can we learn from it? In late 1999, most of us were drawing up detailed plans to cope with the impact of Y2K. One of the main threats was that of fuel supplies being disrupted by massive computer failure - or so we assumed. Months later, the impact was the same, yet the original plans to cope had, it seems, long since been forgotten. Perhaps they should be brought out and made ready again.
* Don't scaremonger. It is so very easy to start a panic. For example, the suggestion by a Welsh radio station that the strike was about to resume led to queues forming at petrol stations across the country within hours.
Peter Power is managing director of crisis management specialists Visor Consultants Ltd., ( ). He was the author of the Department of Trade & Industry's guide booklet "Preventing Chaos in a Crisis".