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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 05:46 GMT 06:46 UK
AM campaigns on fuel price rises
Brynle Williams
Brynle Williams was one of the leaders of the 2000 blockades
A former ringleader of the 2000 fuel protests which brought large parts of the UK to a halt is launching a new campaign against fuel tax increases.

Brynle Williams, who is now a Conservative AM for north Wales, says he will not get involved in direct action this time.

But he has warned new protests are getting more likely as petrol prices rise to nearly 80p a litre following increases in the cost of crude oil in the wake of tensions in the Middle East.

The UK-wide campaign will urge the government to halt rises in fuel tax.

Mr Williams, a sheep and cattle farmer from Cilcain near Mold in Flintshire, helped organise the blockades which paralysed parts of the country in protests against high petrol prices four years ago.

Since then, Mr Williams has crossed the political divide to become an assembly member himself.

Petrol pump
Crude oil prices have bumped up those on the forecourt

But on Wednesday he will find himself once again at the head of efforts to halt rising fuel prices.

With the help of representatives from haulage companies he is launching a UK wide campaign urging the UK Government to halt increases in fuel tax.

The AM says fresh protests must be a distinct possibility once again.

"Here (rural areas) if you want to go from A to B you have to use a car," he said.

"We don't have the luxury of public transport. I can't just shout out cab, because we don't have that luxury.

"I can't walk to the end of the road and get a bus because we don't have that luxury.

"We have got a government that is hell bent on spending money. They have over-spent and the tax on fuel is a way of getting money in," he claimed.

World oil prices have been simmering around 13-year highs because of fears that escalating instability in Iraq will disrupt supplies from the region.

This has started to have a knock-on effect at Britain's petrol pumps.

Oil refinery

According to petrol consultancy Catalyst, the average price of unleaded petrol is now 80.2 pence a litre.

Lorry drivers in the UK are already angry at the rise in diesel prices, and some are threatening a repeat of the fuel protests that took place in September 2000.

Diesel prices are averaging 81.3 pence a litre, and a new round of government fuel tax rises in the autumn will add to transport costs.

The government is planning a tax rise on diesel of 1.92 pence a litre from 1 September.

Mr Williams said he would become a champion of rural issues when he was elected to the Welsh assembly a year ago.

In the 2000 fuel protests the AM rose to prominence as a spokesman for farmers protesting at the Stanlow oil refinery in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.

The group picketed the site for seven days and the action sparked similar protests at oil sites around the UK.

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