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Saturday, 11 November, 2000, 18:08 GMT
Fuel convoy legal threat
The city of Dundee
Dundee has refused the convoy access
The leaders of a fuel protest convoy are to take legal action after they were refused permission to travel through Dundee on Monday.

Organiser Fred Grant said the city council's decision to block the convoy's application to travel along the A90 Kingsway would cause more disruption for motorists.

A council spokesman said that the decision had been made because of roadworks on the Kingsway, the main route through Dundee, and the lateness of the application.

Around 70 vehicles are expected to leave Thainstone, near Inverurie, on Monday morning to join a convoy from John O'Groats to Edinburgh.

The decision to push ahead with the convoy comes as there are signs that support is dwindling for the campaign south of the border.


One suggestion is that we take the vehicles through the Kingsway three at a time, which will take a long, long time and will cause major disruption on all the approach roads into Dundee

Protest leader Fred Grant
Mr Grant said: "We had a meeting on Wednesday night and on Thursday we had meetings with the police and the police advised us to apply to all the authorities.

"The application was put in on Friday and Dundee was the only authority which left it until after 5 pm to reply, but which time it was too late for us to do anything.

"It's going to be extremely difficult to overcome this. The Labour council in Dundee, and I'm quite sure it is a political thing, has suggested we go via Coupar Angus and go over the narrow bridges into Perth and then go through Perth city centre.

"That would cause major distruption and we don't want to cause disruption. We are aware that there are roadworks on the Kingsway, but allowing for the roadworks, I'm sure it would cause much less disruption to use the Kingsway."

Mr Grant said the group is raising court action, which it hopes will overturn Dundee City Council's decision.

"We will go to court on Monday morning to hope to get it overturned.

Fred Grant
Fred Grant: "Political decision"
"One suggestion is that we take the vehicles through the Kingsway three at a time, which will take a long, long time and will cause major disruption on all the approach roads into Dundee, which in my opinion would be very stupid and very dangerous."

"We do realise we were late in applying for this, but we had no alternative because the chancellor's statement was not until Wednesday."

The hauliers said that a meeting of about 200 in Thainstone on Friday evening had voted unanimously to continue with the protest.

The convoy plans to travel to Stirling on Monday, where it will stop for the night.

On Tuesday it will travel to Edinburgh for a rally at Ingliston.

Police in Edinburgh say they have no plans to prevent hauliers and farmers driving into the centre of the capital.

Intimidation claims

Action would only be taken if the convoy were to come to a halt, holding up other traffic.

Fuel protest leaders in England have accused police of intimidation in their handling of a convoy which is heading for London.

Fuel convoy
Lorries will be allowed into Edinburgh
The convoy, which is made up of about 30 vehicles, has been refused permission to enter London.

David Handley said that police tactics, which included driving alongside the lorries recording the drivers on a video camera, amounted to "intimidation".

The Scottish campaigners claim Chancellor Gordon Brown's pre-Budget statement did not go far enough towards meeting their demands.

He announced proposals to freeze fuel duty until at least 2002, reduce road tax and tax foreign truckers to drive in this country in his pre-Budget statement to the Commons.

Jim Walker, president of the National Farmers Union Scotland, warned that further protests at this point could damage public support for their cause.

STUC general secretary Bill Speirs also urged Scottish lorry owners to think again about their involvement in the Edinburgh rally.

Phil Flanders, Scottish director of the Road Haulage Association, said his members would not be taking part.


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08 Nov 00 | UK Politics
08 Nov 00 | UK Politics
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