Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Monday, 26 May 2008 16:02 UK

Fuel protests 'will cause delays'

diesel protest
Hauliers held a fuel protest in central London in April

Motorists are being warned to expect major delays when lorry drivers pour into London to demonstrate against soaring fuel costs.

Hundreds of hauliers are expected to take part in the convoy, led by drivers from Kent, which will converge at Marble Arch on Tuesday.

Part of the London-bound A40 will be closed from 1000 to 1500 BST so protestors can park their lorries.

The organisers want HGV drivers to be allowed to claim back some fuel duty.

It follows a similar convoy last month which saw 65 lorries make their way up the M2 motorway in Kent and into the capital.

All we are asking for is that the Government introduce an essential user rebate so that we can compete on a level playing field
Mike Presneill

A letter demanding a fuel duty rebate for essential users will also be handed to 10 Downing Street by a delegation from the demonstration on Tuesday.

Transport for London (TfL) said the A40 London-bound carriageway between White City and Edgware Road would be closed for five hours to allow the demonstrators to park their HGV vehicles.

The westbound carriageway will remain open.

Organisers said fuel for a typical articulated lorry now cost up to 1,000 per week.

Mike Presneill, of Transaction 2007 who helped organise the protest, said: "Foreign hauliers are entering the UK with cheaper fuel purchased abroad. They contribute nothing to our economy.

"We are paying the highest rate of fuel duty in the UK. All we are asking for is that the Government introduce an essential user rebate so that we can compete on a level playing field with continental hauliers."

Peter Knight, a haulier based in Kent, said: "This is the economics of the mad house. If the Prime Minister doesn't listen the Government will lose out.

"As UK hauliers we pay enormous amounts of tax to the UK Exchequer - we pay employment tax, road tax and of course fuel duty."

He added: "If we are wiped out, the work will be done by foreign hauliers who pay nothing to the UK in tax. It is madness."

An independent inquiry into the effect of fuel taxation in 2005 found that the level of diesel duty in the UK was higher than the average EU rate.


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