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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 April 2005, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
More fuel protests at refineries
Protesters gather for the go-slow convoy in Hampshire
The Hampshire go-slow was delayed after talks with police and unions
Protests against fuel prices are continuing in England and Wales as Scottish hauliers also consider action.

About 35 lorries gathered overnight at the Total plant in Milford Haven and the Texaco refinery in Pembroke, Wales, although numbers dropped with daylight.

Hauliers have held a go-slow convoy in Hampshire and a small protest in Essex, while lorry drivers in Scotland are meeting to discuss action there.

However, a demonstration at Shell's Stanlow refinery in Cheshire has ended.

We're going to park up and we're going to talk to the tanker drivers and see if they will talk to us
South West Wales Road Hauliers

In Hampshire, some 10 vehicles set off at about 1025 BST on the go-slow drive, away from the Fawley oil refinery in the New Forest and up the A326 towards the M27.

The 10-mile round trip, at 40mph, had been due to begin during Tuesday morning's rush hour but was delayed while drivers talked to police and union representatives.

Police said the protesters had been "extremely peaceful and cooperative" and the action passed without incident.

'Dire consequences'

Fuel protester Chris Hunter, who runs a small road haulage firm in Southampton, said: "Last month profits went purely back into the fuel bill. You can see the dire consequences of it. It's going to put a lot of people out of business."

A spokeswoman for Esso, which runs the refinery with ExxonMobil, said deliveries continued normally despite the demonstration.

A handful of drivers also gathered outside a depot in Purfleet, Essex, but said they did not intend a blockade.

Protest at Stanlow oil refinery in April 2005
The protest in Cheshire began at 0500 BST on Monday

Police in Wales said they were scaling down their presence outside the Texaco and Elf oil refineries "due to the peaceful nature of the protest" and the drop in numbers there.

Many of the drivers who arrived on Monday night after a go-slow convoy from Cross Hands in Carmarthenshire left to go to work on Tuesday morning - but promised to return in the evening.

Alan Greene, chairman of the South West Wales Road Hauliers' Association, said: "We are still here and we are sticking it out today. We are here to show that we are alive and kicking and that the haulage industry is in dire straits at the moment."

A spokesmen for Texaco said its tankers had been unaffected, while Total said its service stations were stocked as usual.

Pressure group Farmers For Action began its Cheshire protest, made up of 14 tractors and about 20 people on foot, at about 0500 BST on Monday at Stanlow oil refinery, near Ellesmere Port.

'Successful day'

A number of vehicles remained at the site overnight but left by 1000 BST on Tuesday, after failing to persuade Shell and its drivers to back their campaign.

A Shell spokeswoman said the protest had not disrupted fuel supplies.

Farmers For Action was responsible for organising nationwide action at fuel depots in 2000.

We have managed to put ourselves on the politicians' agendas
Farmers for Action

David Handley, one of the group's founders, said: "It was a successful day for us.

"We made our points peacefully and we sparked a number of protests elsewhere in the country.

"We have managed to put ourselves on the politicians' agendas, and now we will just have to wait and see what they come up with."

Meanwhile lorry drivers in Scotland will discuss protests against the cost of fuel and restrictions on business at a meeting of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) in Edinburgh.

The body is considering strike action an option, but insists any action it supports must be "totally legal".

The RHA's director in Scotland, Phil Flanders, has previously said it is unlikely go-slow protests or refinery blockades would be staged.

Are you one of the protestors? Do you support the action? What are your views on fuel prices?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Your comments:

I'm sick to death of high fuel prices and hope the protestors bring the country to a standstill just before the.
S Cavanagh, Clitheroe, England

I am in total agreement with the fuel protestors as I believe that even a 10p per litre drop in fuel prices would ease the pain that most people are feeling.
Bryan Preston, Ulverston, England

I fully support these fuel protests in the UK. I moved to Canada around three years ago and there is even talk here of protests, even though the price of fuel has only just threatened the 90c a litre mark (around 38p). These Canadian prices are taxed at 140% so UK ones must be up around 500-600% which is ridiculous.
Ian, Edmonton, Canada

Yes, I do support the protest. I am so tired of motorists being ripped off by successive governments.
Edward Seymour, Mose, Shropshire

High fuel prices keep congestion down - if fuel was cheaper, companies would suffer increased costs due to more traffic on the roads and more jams.
John, Leeds

If environmentalists had the temerity to block oil refineries - a major source of CO2 emissions that cause global warming - the authorities wouldn't hesitate to remove them by force. No one dares take on the truckers.
Gregory Norminton, Fleet, UK

When people start walking and cycling the 25% of car journeys in the UK that are less than two miles, then I'll believe that fuel is expensive. Motoring is cheaper in real terms now than it has been for 20 years and taxation is at similar levels to the rest of Europe.
Alexander Rice, Durham

Everybody should be watching this very carefully. Once we reach peak oil production, the price of fuel will never come back down. Protests like these will become more and more common, but they will never be effective.
Tom, London

I feel that what these drivers are doing is right. Tony Blair says he is helping the small businesses but in reality he is robbing them with extortionate fuel prices.
Dan Blowes, Canvey island, Essex

The fact that these protestors include members of the Farmers For Action group says a lot about the nature of the protest. When we had the last lot of protests in 2000, there was a clear attempt by this group to bring the country to its knees. I hope these militants aren't planning anything similar this time around.
Rod Devonshire, Sandhurst

I drive 100 miles round trip to work and the cost of fuel is too high at present. Something needs to be done, so I back the campaign.
Aubrey Moore, Doncaster, South Yorkshire

I cannot believe prices go up so quick when a barrel of crude goes up. But they are very slow to come down when crude prices fall.
Martin, Southampton

I can understand the RHA's position completely. When combined with the working time directive that came in last month, it makes haulage for small/medium businesses impossible. Not only are fuel prices so high, drivers can now only work 48 hours a week.
Neil, Coventry

Hopefully the rising costs of fuel will get more freight off the roads and onto the trains where it should be.
Steve, London





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SEE ALSO:
More fuel protests being planned
25 Apr 05 |  England
Fuel protesters picket refinery
25 Apr 05 |  England


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