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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 December 2007, 13:07 GMT
Drivers protest over fuel costs
Truck protest
Farmers and lorry drivers are angry over the impact of high prices
A convoy of about 45 lorries has travelled across central Scotland as part of a protest over fuel prices.

The trucks and heavy goods vehicles left Hamilton and drove at 40mph as far as Stirling, along the M74, M8 and M9, ending their protest at lunchtime.

The Road Haulage Association said the high price of diesel and fuel taxes were putting businesses and farmers' livelihoods at risk.

The UK Government said the situation was being monitored.

It is the first major fuel demonstration in the UK for more than two years.

This demonstration will continue to highlight the problems faced by the haulage industry
Phil Flanders
RHAS director

The convoy was travelling at about 40mph along the inside lane, accompanied by a heavy police presence.

Organisers insisted they were not out to cause disruption to other drivers.

RHA Scotland said many hauliers had found themselves having to requote for business as prices had soared.

Calls for action to keep costs down have grown in recent weeks, as the average petrol price broke the 1 a litre barrier for the first time.

Truckers want the Westminster government to introduce a fuel price regulator, which would freeze fuel duty while the price of oil remains volatile.

They are also unhappy about a 2p government increase in fuel duty introduced in October.

Distance costs

First Minister Alex Salmond backed the calls for a regulator last month, saying Scots hauliers were more vulnerable to rises as they often had to travel greater distances to their markets.

RHAS director Phil Flanders said: "This demonstration will continue to highlight the problems faced by the haulage industry due to the current high price of diesel, made worse by the imposition of higher fuel taxes and their effect on the UK economy."

The demonstration was being monitored by police.

The action falls short of protests in autumn 2000, which saw refineries blocked off by fleets of lorries resulting in nationwide shortages at petrol stations.

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said the situation was being monitored and plans were in place to "mitigate any future fuel supply disruptions".

A statement from the department read: "Any disruption to fuel supply would cause a great deal of inconvenience to people."

SEE ALSO
Fuel protest convoy set to roll
14 Dec 07 |  Scotland
Protests planned over fuel costs
11 Dec 07 |  Scotland
'Don't panic' appeal to motorists
13 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Brown calls for oil price effort
13 Sep 05 |  UK Politics
Fuel queue motorists block roads
12 Sep 05 |  England

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